The Director of Louisville’s Coalition for the Homeless is retiring at the end of this year. Marlene Gordon has spent more than twenty years working with Louisville’s homeless population. Nine of those years were with the Jefferson County Public School district, and thirteen as director of the Coalition.
Gordon says the way her agency approaches the problem of homelessness has changed a lot since the 1980’s, when agencies worked only to provide temporary food and housing.
“We’re looking for preventive measures before people even fall into homelessness,” says Gordon, “we are doing a housing-first model that we don’t care what your issue is, let us get you in housing and surround you with homeless services.”
Gordon says the way the public views homelessness has changed too. She says twenty years ago many people thought of the homeless as wandering hobos, but have come to realize that many of the city’s homeless are families struggling to make ends meet.