Women need shelter, too


It would be a terrible irony if long after former Franklin County Jailer Hunter Hay finished his prison sentence for the rape and sexual abuse of his female jail employees, Hays crime is a factor in denying county funding for a program to assist homeless women in Franklin County, some of whom may be victims of rape and sexual abuse themselves.

But Fiscal Court continues to carry the financial burden of $5 million awarded five of Hays victims, and that has caused magistrates to limit the money they approve for community programs such as that serving homeless women in the community.

Three organizations the Simon House, Franklin County Council on Family Abuse and the Franklin County Womens Shelter have joined forces to seek city and county funding to help pay a portion of the salary for a part-time, professional caseworker to do what now is performed by volunteers work with homeless women, assess their situations, offer guidance and use community resources to provide them temporary shelter and assistance in overcoming their immediate crisis.

The City Commission and Fiscal Court are being asked to contribute $5,500 a year each toward the caseworkers salary. Thats a bit more than $100 a week each from the city and county toward a program that should have been operating for years in Kentuckys capital city, a city that has long supported a homeless shelter for men but not one for women, either alone or with children.

That, in itself, is a shocking community failure despite long efforts by volunteers who continue working toward securing a safe place for homeless women to find temporary shelter.

Until that shelter is a reality, three important organizations serving women in times of personal and family crisis are determined that services they give homeless women are performed by a trained and experienced caseworker.

We believe that supporting that determination with funding is the least city and county officials can do in a wealthy community that long ago recognized its responsibility to assist homeless men, but so far has stumbled in offering the same assistance to women and children.

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