Since its inception in 1962, Kentucky River Foothills Development Council, Inc. has been committed to the promise of helping people and changing lives. Foothills provides a comprehensive range of health and human services and is governed by community leaders from Clark, Estill, Madison and Powell counties. The agency’s workforce of more than 275 professionals represents a diverse team of highly skilled teachers, social workers, counselors, drivers, health care professionals, and administrators.
The mission of Kentucky River Foothills Development Council, Inc. is to develop resources so that all persons may have lives of dignity, responsibility and opportunity. This effort is achieved through the combined efforts of our volunteers and staff.
Foothills would not be able to meet its goals without the support of its community partners, funding sources, Board of Directors, and various advisory committees. The tireless dedication of these groups not only helps people but also changes lives.
Some of our programs include Head Start, Transportation, Healthcare for the Homeless, Affordable Housing, Weatherization, and Senior Citizens Centers. Below is a success story about a woman who has successfully transitioned from Supportive Services for Veteran Families program.
Sharon is a U.S. Army veteran and mother. She’s been around the world and has come home to Mt. Vernon to be near family and re-start her life. Like many people, she enrolled in the Army to serve her country and gain access to higher education. “Going to college was simply not an option,” said Sharon, who grew up helping her 16 siblings and parents grow tobacco, a hard but rewarding job. Sharon served four years in the military, as well as a great deal of time in the Army Reserves. She worked as an instructor in the Army where she taught basic and advanced noncommissioned officer courses. She also taught chemical, nuclear, and biological warfare classes. “I loved teaching,” she reminisced. Soon Sharon was promoted to first sergeant. Some of her job responsibilities as a first sergeant included handling the leadership and professional development of her soldiers, supervising administrative issues, and recommending and grooming enlisted soldiers for promotions and leadership schools. Sharon also fulfilled her college dream and earned a degree in English. She enjoyed her time in the Army and transitioned back into civilian life. Over the next few years she was married and divorced, and had five children. In 2012, she lost a daughter to a heroin overdose. “It was devastating,” she said. “I still feel helpless.” Sharon also lost a newborn with a heart defect many years ago. She tried her best to move on. Before long, she was living in Mt. Vernon and suddenly found herself in an abusive relationship. Scared, Sharon fled to Louisiana where she had friends she could stay with and count on for support. She knew this was a temporary solution and longed to come home. With only $100 in her pocket she made it back to Kentucky. However, everything she owned was lost in the separation. Unable to afford rent, she found herself living at a local homeless shelter. Sharon felt desperate. Work was hard to find and she was broke. It was at the homeless shelter that Sharon noticed a brochure advertising VA housing assistance. The next day she applied for help through Foothills’ Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. “I just called and met with a case manager,” she said. “Before I knew it, I was moving into an apartment. I was stunned. Foothills paid my security deposit and rent for four months. They helped me with utility assistance. They even helped me get a bed to sleep in.” Funded by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the SSVF project financially assists veterans who are facing eviction to remain housed or who are homeless to obtain housing through a variety of financial and support services such as rent payment, security deposit, utility deposits and potentially more based upon the veteran’s need. With the encouragement of Foothills combined with her own determination, Sharon began working two jobs and saving money. Eventually she saved enough to purchase a car. Since transitioning from SSVF, she now rents a large mobile home with a beautiful yard. She’s been able to purchase furniture and decorate her new home. She works full-time as a hotel manager, a job she loves. She often speaks to high school groups about her daughter’s death. “I’ll talk to anyone that will listen,” she said. “There’s a lot of healing that comes to me by speaking to groups. My advice to anyone suffering from a loved one’s addiction is – ‘don’t give up and don’t forget to say I love you’.” Sharon is currently working toward gaining custody of her youngest son, who lives in Louisiana with his grandparents. She's working towards reconciling a relationship with her older three daughters. In her spare time she enjoys gardening and can’t wait to start landscaping. “I feel like I’m moving in the right direction,” said Sharon. “I can’t thank Foothills enough for all their help. I’m in a much better place now, physically and psychologically. I’m able to stand on my feet again and I am grateful.”
SSVF services are available to eligible residents or those relocating to Bath, Clark, Clay, Estill, Jackson, Laurel, Madison, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Powell, Rockcastle, and Rowan counties. Project eligibility: 1) Active Duty service with a discharge other than “Dishonorable”, 2a) Facing eviction with an eviction notification from current landlord or 2b) have no current permanent housing and living in a shelter, street, car, park, etc., 3) Household income must not exceed 50% of area median income.