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Task Force Recommendations Favor Wayside Shelter Downtown

by Gabe Bullard

Wayside Christian Mission may legally be able to operate a homeless shelter in downtown Louisville by the end of the summer.

The Homeless Shelter Task Force was formed to address the gap in zoning laws that neither allowed nor prohibited Wayside’s proposed shelter at 2nd and Broadway. The task force’s final recommendation would allow shelters like Wayside’s in commercial spaces like downtown, and does not set a limit for how many shelters can be in a specific area.

“There are not distance mandates,” says Assistant Director of Planning and Design Services Dawn Warrick. “That was something the task force did discuss: whether or not there should be a requirement for a certain amount of distance to be mandated between various facilities.”

Warrick says the task force does recommend the city establish a licensing standard for shelters.

“We do business licensing for all types of activities within the community at this point in time,” she says. “You operate a restaurant, you have a business licenses, you operate a taxi service you have a business license.”

The task force also suggests that shelters operating in certain zoning areas follow specific quality standards. The recommendations now go to the Planning Commission. If approved, they will be sent to the Metro Council for final approval, which could come as early as July.

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Professor At Odds With Shelter Task Force

A University of Louisville professor walked out of Firday’s homeless shelter task force meeting after his request to speak was denied.

The task force was formed to address a gap in zoning laws that leaves homeless shelters without a clear definition. It’s a response to Wayside Christian Mission’s attempt to establish a shelter downtown.Dr. John Gilderbloom says the task force does not have the proper representation and should be looking at more than just zoning for shelters.

“There has to be certain guidelines just like we have a restaurant, just like we have car protections, just like we have home protections and right now we’re not getting that at all,” he says.

Gilderbloom walked out of the meeting after he wasn’t allowed to speak.

“I’ve been working with enough homeless people and have done enough interviews with homeless people to know what they want,” he says. “And we’re going to do our own committee and we’re going to go right to the zoning and to the city council.”

Assistant Director of Metro Planning Dawn Warrick says only task force members may speak at certain meetings, though the body will ask for academic input at a later meeting.

“Obviously Dr. Gilderbloom is one of the top people doing that in this area that we could draw from as a resource, so I would hope that’s something that he’d be willing to do to bring his valuable information to the task force for his consideration,” she says.

She adds that the task force can vote to add more members and representation to the body.

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Homeless Shelter Task Force Adds Members, Will Meet Friday

The Louisville task force that will help determine how homeless shelters are regulated will meet again Friday.

This will be the group’s second meeting. It was formed last year to address a gap in the law that leaves homeless shelters without a clear zoning definition. The gap has delayed Wayside Christian Mission’s efforts to establish a shelter downtown, and the task force will make a recommendation for how shelters should be zoned.

Since the first meeting, Metro Planning Assistant Director Dawn Warrick says four more members have been brought in.

“From [the] Homebuilders Association, from the Urban League and from Church-affiliated community service agency…and I’m still trying to finish recruiting somebody representing small business and GLI,” she says.

The group will meet six times between now and March, but  Warrick says there’s no deadline for the task force to complete its work.

“The task force is fairly dynamic. It’s got a lot of people on it. And to get that group to all push forward and accomplish this in six meetings is going to be a feat.”

Much of Friday’s meeting will be spent comparing homeless shelters to establishments like boarding houses that are covered by zoning law.

“We have other communal living types of definitions,” says Warrick. “Certainly multi-family and rehabilitation homes. But those aren’t exactly hitting the mark when it comes to some of these other facilities we need to find a home for.”

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Kentucky Horse Industry Task Force Releases Final Report

A task force appointed by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to look into the future of horse racing in the state has issued its final recommendations. The twelve-member panel says higher purses are critical to pushing the industry forward.

A ‘purse’ is the money collected by the winners of a horse race. In Kentucky, purses have suffered recently because of reduced betting and lower track attendance. But purses are swelling in other states – like Pennsylvania – where Kentucky Horse Racing Commission spokesperson Jim Carroll says they have extra gaming options like slots or video poker.

“What we’re finding is that some of those states, their purses structure is becoming stronger and stronger,” says Caroll, “and Kentucky is becoming less competitive in being able to have the best quality races.”

The task force also recommended hiring more staff for the Horse Racing Commission. The Governor will now review the recommendations.