SHEPHERDSVILLE – The problem has been discussed on numerous occasions over the years.

            What to do with the homeless issue in the city of Shepherdsville?

            Mayor Jose Cubero said that while he didn’t know the answer, he had the perfect person to spearhead the discussion.

            The Rev. Mike Miller, pastor of Family Day Ministry in Shepherdsville, will lead the efforts to find some solutions.

            And Cubero welcomed long-time advocate Perry Cooke, executive director of Mark 12 Ministries, to be part of that committee.

            “It’s a problem,” Miller said of trying to find a solution to the homeless issue. “We can’t resolve the homeless situation but we can make it work.”

            Several months ago, Miller appeared before the Shepherdsville City Council to discuss a temporary solution to a long-term problem.

            He proposed setting up a program where a 48-hour shelter would provide a person hot meals, a place to shower and sleep. Then they would be sent to an actual facility in Jefferson County.

            A retired police officer, Miller said this gives law enforcement with the ability to offer the homeless person who might be loitering an opportunity to be taken to the 48-hour shelter or sent to the county jail.       

            Miller has some experience in dealing with the homeless situation as he founded the River City Love Squad, which is still operating in Louisville.

            To make the local program work, Miller said there will have to be a building secured. He knows it is difficult to find a location as residents and businesses don’t them located next to them.

            He likes the work of the Mark 12 Ministries, which operates the White Flag shelter during the winter months.

            Cooke said that he is happy to work with anyone to move forward on solutions to deal with the homeless issue.

            Through the ministry, which has taken over the Room in the Inn program, during the past year, 61 individuals were helped by the White Flag shelter. Cooke said 82 percent of those were from Bullitt County.

            Getting resources to help people has been a long-time goal and Cooke said nine people went into long-term rehabilitation thanks to the efforts of the ministry.

            With the cold weather this December, the shelter was busy as 28 people stayed. For Christmas, he said 14 people would not have had a place to go if it weren’t for the shelter.

            Former mayor Curtis Hockenbury allowed for the use of the community center for the White Flag program and Cubero has made sure that extends to the end of March.

            Fifteen churches are assisting with housing and meals through the Room in the Inn program with six individuals graduating to secure full-time jobs.

            Many people think of the homeless as criminals but Cooke said that while there are some of that element existing, many of the stricken have been due to economic or health emergencies.

            “We just need a seat at the table,” said Cooke.

            Cubero said he understood the concerns and there must be a happy median. Miller and Cooke would be joined on a committee which will include councilmembers Jennifer Mendez and Bonnie Enlow.

            The next meeting of the Shepherdsville City Council will be on Monday, Jan. 23, at 6:30 p.m. at the government center. The public is invited to attend.