VOCAL-KY will build power among low-income people affected by HIV/AIDS, the drug war, mass incarceration, and homelessness in order to create healthy and just communities. We accomplish this through community organizing, leadership development, advocacy, direct services, participatory research and direct action on the following issues:
- According to the CDC, Kentucky reported 197 overdose deaths in 1999. In 2020, that number jumped to 1,909 lives lost to preventable overdose.
- Among Black, non-Hispanic residents, overdose risk increased by 57%, and among White, non-Hispanic residents, overdose risk increased by 45% from 2019 to 2020.
- As of January 2020, more than 4,000 people are experiencing homelessness across Kentucky.
- This includes 277 family households, 399 Veterans, 221 unaccompanied young adults, and 666 individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.
Ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic
Based on CDC data, there were 7,638 people living with HIV in Kentucky in 2019, and another 326 people were diagnosed in the same year. We know the COVID-19 pandemic has likely worsened this crisis.
- Kentucky has an incarceration rate of 930 per 100,000 residents, meaning it locks up a higher percentage of its people than any democracy on earth.
- People of color are overrepresented in Kentucky prisons and jails: 3,545 per 100,000 incarcerated individuals are Black, compared to 705 per 100,000 who are White.