A History of Hope

Take a walk through the history of the Hope Center, from 1993 to the present day and the events that have shaped our community.

During the 1980s,

as affordable housing units disappeared and poverty expanded, the problem of homelessness grew, both nationally and locally, to the point that it could no longer be ignored. Something had to be done. In Lexington, the Urban County Government formed the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness, chaired by Debra Hensley. The task force studied the problem and issued its report in October 1990. In this report, “By and For the Community,” the task force called for the establishment of a “24-hour comprehensive service facility. The overriding philosophy of this facility should be directed at providing services to all who need them.”

That facility is the Hope Center, which was created by a merger of the Community Kitchen and the Horizon Center.

The report stated that needs must be met on a variety of levels, beginning with the provision of safe and accessible shelter. The report further recognized the need for services that encourage movement out of shelter dependency. The Urban County Government built the facility on West Loudon Avenue and delegated to the Hope Center the primary responsibility for dealing with the adult male homeless population in Lexington (The Salvation Army undertook primary responsibility for women and families). The building opened in June 1993.

There is more to dealing with the homeless than simply providing food and shelter

Over time, the number people living in poverty in this country has grown. At the same time, the number of affordable housing units has declined. That means that the competition to get into these housing units has become more difficult. Those who lose out in that competition tend to be those who have the most difficulty competing, including people with addictions, mental health issues, and other barriers.

For these reasons, the Hope Center, pursuant to its mandate from the Urban County Government, has sought to address the multiple issues affecting the homeless population. Since 1993, it has developed a variety of programs to do just that.


The shelter opened in June 1993. This is a core function of the Hope Center. It is generally the first service offered to a homeless person. The center offers homeless adult males a place to sleep, food to eat, and clothes to wear. The shelter is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Mental Health

Approximately 20-25% of the single adult homeless population suffers from some form of severe and persistent mental illness, and many others suffer less intense forms of mental disorder. The Hope Center Mental Health Program is a team of individuals from the Hope Center and from bluegrass.org who engage the chronically mentally ill among the homeless, stabilize them, house them and facilitate their return to society. The team provides a wide variety of services, including psychiatric assessment and evaluation, medication assistance and monitoring, case management services, housing support services, payee services, service referrals, and transportation assistance.

Employment and Transitional Housing

This program is available to those clients who either have no mental health or addiction issues, or have otherwise progressed to the point of employability. In order to leave homelessness, one generally needs an income and a place to live. This program assists clients in obtaining jobs and housing. In doing so, it coordinates with and uses the services of public agencies, other private agencies and private employers throughout the community.

Health Clinic

In cooperation with the University of Kentucky College of Nursing and the Lexington Fayette County Health Department, the Hope Center opened a free health clinic to serve the health needs of its clients.

Social Services

Social Services provides temporary assistance for those in need. Staff in this department helps clients find a place to live and works with landlords on clients’ behalf, assists in claiming Social Security benefits, provides transportation and financial assistance and other similar services.


Mobile Outreach (HopeMobile)

This mobile unit is out Monday through Friday helping those who are on the street but won’t seek shelter, as well as those who are marginally-housed and in danger of losing shelter. The HopeMobile is hosted by various churches around the central core of Lexington.


Recovery Program for Men

People with substance use disorders are particularly vulnerable to becoming homeless or being precariously housed. Addictive disorders appear disproportionately among the homeless population. The Recovery Program for Men was established in August 1996. The program generally takes six months or longer to complete. It features a detoxification unit for those who are under the influence when they arrive; a Motivational Track, which requires clients to demonstrate their commitment to entering the program by attending classes and AA or NA meetings for two weeks or longer; Phase 1 of the program itself in which the men devote their time to learning about addiction, the principles of recovery, the Twelve Steps, and how to plan and live a life free from drugs and alcohol; and Phase 2 in which the men begin the process of seeking employment and housing outside the facility. They also have the option of staying on for a period of time as Peer Mentors to help run the program. The program is progressive in nature and also relies on a set of incentives as each client progresses. It tolerates no usage of drugs or alcohol, is peer-driven and emphasizes personal responsibility and mutual accountability. The University of Kentucky Center on Drug and Alcohol Research measures outcomes for the Hope Center recovery programs.

Hispanic Program

The rising tide of Spanish-speaking immigrants to central Kentucky meant that language barriers grew within the homeless population that came to the Hope Center looking for assistance. This program provides social services and translation for the Hispanic portion of the Hope Center client base. It assists with labor issues and helps employers connect with workers.


Day Labor Program

This service helps homeless clients connect with local employers in need of casual labor. It operates in front of the Loudon Avenue facility beginning at 6:00 am on weekdays.


Hill Rise Place

Hill Rise Place provides drug- and alcohol-free housing in an atmosphere dedicated to recovery. Eligible tenants include graduates of our recovery program as well as other similar programs. It is an important continuation of our efforts to take addicted, homeless men off the street and move them into stable and sustainable independent living.

Hispanic Recovery

This program deals with the language needs and cultural issues involved in drug and alcohol recovery for Hispanic clients.

Dual Diagnosis Program

This program deals with clients who suffer from both mental illness and addiction.


Recovery Program for Women

The success of the Men’s Recovery Program led to requests from the community that the Hope Center initiate a similar program for women. This program was established in January 2002, in a new facility, the Ball-Quantrell Jones Center for Women, located on Versailles Road. It features the same peer-driven emphasis on personal responsibility and mutual accountability as the Men’s Program. This program does not have its own detoxification unit, but otherwise it tracks the same progressive path. It also deals with gender-specific issues.

Detention Center Recovery Program

In September of 2002, the Hope Center used its expertise in recovery for difficult populations to begin a recovery program for inmates at the Lexington Fayette Detention Center. Developed in cooperation with the Division of Community Corrections, the program sprang from the substantial direct correlation between substance abuse and offender behavior. By addressing substance abuse issues, we reduce the risk of repeat offender behavior.


Land from Lexmark

Lexmark International donated 12 acres of land adjacent to the Hope Center, bearing an assessed value of more than $1 million. The land has provided the Hope Center with room to built the facilities it needs to perform its mission.


The George Privett Recovery Center opens In May 2008, the grand opening of the George Privett Recovery Center for men was held. This facility was named after Dr. George Privett, Jr., a long-standing board member and past board chairman of the Hope Center. With this facility, the Hope Center was able to expand its recovery program and serve suffering homeless alcoholics and addicts even more effectively.


The Barbara H. Rouse Apartments

This 44-unit permanent housing building is located directly next to the Ball-Quantrell Jones Center for Women. The building was opened in November 2010. The facility provides drug- and alcohol-free permanent housing to women in recovery and provides an atmosphere that supports their continued sobriety. The Hope Center owes thanks for the funding of this building to the Rouse Family Foundation, a Neighborhood Stabilization capital grant awarded by the Kentucky Department for Local Government, and competitive funding from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati.


The Don and Cathy Jacobs House and Jacobs Hope Cafeteria

The Don and Cathy Jacobs House inhabits men who are learning to overcome addiction, mental health issues, employability deficits and other challenges to self-reliant, independent living.

The Jacobs Hope Cafeteria serves three meals a day to those at the Emergency Shelter, the Don and Cathy Jacobs House as well as those in the community. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served every day of the year, totaling over 450 meals daily.


The Emergency Shelter underwent a major renovation, adding over forty beds. As the demand for beds and services rises, this new sleep space offers more comfort and quality space for our homeless clients.

Improved Health Care Services at the Dr. Gordon Hyde Hope Health Clinic

For many homeless, the threat of sickness without access to care health care is very real. The Dr. Gordon Hyde Hope Health Clinic provides much-improved space and services for anyone who is in need of health care. Improvements include new exam rooms, medical furniture and equipment and a dental care services room. HealthFirst of the Bluegrass provides staffing for the clinic.

Improved Veterans Housing

With a grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the new renovations gives the 30 men in this program improved living spaces including new bathrooms, sleep quarters and common living area.

Improved Laundry Accessibility

After the cafeteria facilities moved to the new Jacobs Hope Cafeteria, the old kitchen area was transformed into a laundry room.

New HopeMobile

Through a generous donation from Baptist Health and from the Hope Center Foundation, the Hope Center purchased a new HopeMobile. Since 1995, the Hope Center’s Mobile Outreach Unit has been serving the homeless and others needing services in downtown Lexington.


Expansion of the Ball-Quantrell Center for Women

The home of the women’s recovery program gained larger kitchen and dining spaces and grew to 105 beds. The former kitchen and dining has been transformed into much needed meeting and classroom space.

High Demand for Hope Center Women’s Recovery Program Leads to Expansion

“We are busting at the seams.” -Stephanie Raglin, Director of Programs

“With addiction running rampant in our city and state, our waiting lists have become too long and the space we have is too small,” said Stephanie Raglin, Hope Center Woman’s Recovery Director of Programs. “We have added as many beds and clients to the existing building as possible, but we need more space to serve our clients and run our program.”

Currently there is not a room large enough to serve meals for the now 80 women served in the building that was originally built for 60. Construction of the addition to the Women’s Center on Versailles Avenue began in March. Phase one is a new kitchen and community room which will be complete by December, 2017. The housing phase (phase two) will begin after the kitchen is well underway.

“We are busting at the seams and are very grateful for all who have helped to make this renovation possible,” added Stephanie. “When this project is complete we will be able to serve 100 women who suffer from the disease of alcohol and drug addiction; helping them find a better way to live as productive members of society again.”

Hope Center Recovery programs change lives. And we are thrilled to be able to help more women to overcome addiction and begin a new way to live.


Don Ball Campus Center Men’s Permanent Housing Development

As affordable housing becomes increasingly difficult to find, Hope Center has made a commitment to those clients who have chosen to overcome addiction by helping them with affordable housing after completing a recovery program. Our permanent housing facilities, Hill Rise Place and the Barbara H. Rouse Apartments, and the new Don Ball Campus Center, have been consistently full since they were built. For many clients, these apartments have been the first homes they’ve had on their own. Most importantly, these apartments have allowed recovering addicts and alcoholics to have independence, with a sober safety net. In 2016, Hope Center began construction on a new permanent housing facility on West Loudon Avenue. This 48-unit complex for men features community rooms for NA/AA meetings, a tenant council, and access to Hope Center resources. “A critical demand for our clients who are rebuilding their lives is safe, affordable housing that supports their recovery and new way of life. Our new permanent housing building will address and serve exactly this need, giving our clients a better chance to stay on their new path of self-sufficiency”, said Cecil Dunn, former Executive Director of the Hope Center. In August of 2019, the Don Ball Campus Center officially opened its doors and welcomed residents into their new homes.

Today & Tomorrow

The good news is that the Hope Center is meeting more challenges than ever. As can be seen from the list of programs that have been established, the Center is fighting homelessness on a number of fronts. It is going after the root causes of individual homelessness, whether they are found in addiction, mental illness, lack of skills or simply the need to connect with the appropriate resources. The Center’s programs are working effectively and efficiently. Each year, it helps more of Lexington’s homeless.

Since 1993 it has fought the fight. With the help of its many generous supporters, the Hope Center will continue to rebuild lives. The Hope Center will bring hope to those who need it the most.

Get Help

Emergency Shelter

360 W. Loudon Ave. Lexington, Ky 40508: 859-252-7881

Hyde Hope Health Clinic: 859-225-5035

(For Recovery Program intake, call the Emergency Shelter and ask for Intake)

Reach Us

Men's Recovery Intake Number


Women's Recovery Intake Number


Donations & volunteers


The Hope Center is a 501c3 non-profit.
For all donations or volunteer assistance contact the Development Department at 859-721-0144.

For Men’s Emergency Shelter and Recovery Program questions and intake call 859-252-7881.
For Women’s Recovery Program intake call 859-252-2002.

Copyright © 2018 The Hope Center, Lexington, KY. All Rights Reserved. Site designed by Block & Gray

Last Updated: 1/4/2022