They have many tag names; Invisible People, Hidden Homeless or the
Forgotten Many. But one truth rings clear — they are all homeless men,
women and children.
In the Kansas City Metro area, the Homeless Coalition of Greater
Kansas City reports that “on any given night as many as 3,000 adults
are homeless on Jackson County streets and on an annual basis, more
than 7,500 Jackson County children are homeless”.
In recent issues, Metro Voice has highlighted the plight of the
homeless and work being done by organizations such as City Union
Mission, Salvation Army, Kansas City Rescue Mission and others. Here’s
a look at some organizations that readers may not be familiar with but
which also provide life-saving services to homeless individuals and
We encourage our readers as we head into the New Year to find an
organization and reach out to support those who have so little.
Small impacts make big ripples in the Kingdom of God.
The mission of Sheffield Place is “To empower homeless mothers and
their children to heal from their trauma and help them become
self-sufficient.” Since opening its doors in 1991, Sheffield Place has
assisted more than 700 families in making the difficult journey from
homelessness to self-sufficiency.
Executive Director Kelly Welch says the program is funded
through government contracts, foundations and corporations, special
events, individuals, clubs and faith communities. “I would love to
have increased funding that is more stable, a larger facility, and
more permanent housing,” she adds. “I would also like a system that
works to help families become truly self-sufficient and a system that
made critical mental health medication and employment opportunities
available for all clients who need them.”
Located at 6604 E. 12th Street in Kansas City, Sheffield Place became
the first homeless shelter in the nation to provide the three best
evidence-based therapeutic modalities for traumatized children. In
January 2008, the organization implemented the CARE (Child Adult
Relationship Enhancement) model for trauma informed service systems
and in 2011 was named a best practice in homeless services by the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development Region VII.
“I think the structure, support, and expectations here at Sheffield
are really important,” Welch says. “For most of our clients it’s the
first time that they have been held accountable and the first time
that it occurs to them that they can be self-sufficient and care for
themselves and their children. Eighty-five percent of the program’s
graduates achieve success,”
HILLCREST TRANSITIONAL HOUSEING
Hillcrest Transitional Housing offers homeless families, singles and
youth a disciplined educational program within a caring, supportive
environment. Unlike many organizations whose focus is one-time or
emergency care, Hillcrest’s primary objective is to move clients from
homelessness to self-sufficiency within 90 days by addressing the
total life situation of the homeless families they serve.
Hillcrest has five separate non-profit entities serving the
metropolitan area, located in Clay, Platte, Jackson and Buchanan
Counties in MO, and Wyandotte and Johnson Counties in KS. The housing
sites and offices are located in Liberty, Avondale, KC North, Platte
City, St. Joseph, Independence, Sugar Creek, Lee’s Summit, Kansas
City, Kansas and Overland park.
Becky Poitras, Resource Coordinator says Hillcrest provides a
transitional housing program that helps homeless families & youth
become self-supporting, self-reliant contributors to our community.
“In exchange for rent/utility-free housing, adults are required by
written agreement to find full-time employment, obey program
guidelines and attend weekly volunteer-taught classes in life skills,
employment, and community living and budgeting,” she adds.
In addition, Hillcrest provides a transitional housing program for
homeless teens and young adults, ages 16-21, which have an educational
goal. This unique program offers housing and supportive services for
up to 24 months.
“Hundreds of families each year are given the skills necessary to
become self-reliant contributors to our community,” Becky says.
“Through employment in our local cities, adults in the Hillcrest
program are contributing to the local tax rolls, and spending their
dollars locally. Children are attending local schools, and families
are contributing to our community by moving into affordable housing.
Families and youth that were once homeless and utilizing welfare funds
are now self-sufficient and able to lead healthy, productive lives,
having broken the cycle of poverty and welfare forever.”
Still, the biggest need in the community that Becky sees is affordable
housing. “It’s lacking in our community,” she adds. “Many families
successfully pay down debt, grow their savings, and attain good paying
jobs, through the Hillcrest program, but still struggle to find
decent, sanitary affordable housing.”
WALKING 12 STEPS WITH CHRIST
Walking 12-Steps With Christ Ministries, Inc. is a 501 Â©3 entity. They
provide Chaplain Services at the Wyandotte County Detention Center for
men, women and children. They are also a part of Governor Brownback’s
mentoring initiative (Mentoring4Sucess).
Carolyn Silas, President and Director says they mentor from within the
Topeka Women Correction Center prior to their re-entry into the
Wyandotte County community. “We have hosted several radio broadcasts
and we currently host a Christian radio broadcast, teaching recovery
principles,” she adds. “The broadcast airs in the drug treatment
centers, jails and prisons.”
When prisoners are released, they invite them to contact the program
if they need assistance in identifying housing prior to their release.
When they are released, the Silas’ travel to their point of release
and transport them to pre-arranged housing. The in-facility mentoring
process begins as early as 18 months prior to their expected release
“Housing is provided through the God’s Ordered Steps House (GOSH), an
outreach of Walking 12-Steps With Christ Ministries,” Carolyn says.
“Our vision is based on the Word of God found in Psalm 37:23-24, The
steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his
way. Â Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord
upholds him with His hand. Â “We use the Word of God to achieve a
greater understanding of the 12-Step principles of AA/NA/CA.”
Other services provided are job readiness, GED/Diploma preparation,
Budgeting, Parenting, Drug education/ prevention, Court advocacy and
Case management. “Our goal is to prepare each lady for reunification
with her family to enjoy the benefits of independent sober living and
a relationship with God.”
Located at 831 and 833 Stewart Avenue in Kansas City, KS, Walking 12
Steps With Christ Ministries mission is committed to purposefully
intervening in the lives of people who are suffering from
addictive/compulsive behaviors and criminal lifestyles. Â We endeavor
to provide spiritual and clinical education, in a nurturing
environment, promoting emotional healing, mental alertness and relapse
prevention. We aim to ensure maintenance of sobriety through
follow-up, referral, fellowship and mentoring.
Contact Willie and Carolyn Silas; 913.999.8546 or
RIVER OF REFUGE
River of Refuge is a non-profit Kansas City based organization that
provides interim lodging and services to working poor families trapped
in pay-by-the-week motels. The organization which is funded by private
donations, grants and supported by a wide variety of metro area
churches, purchased the former 150,000 sq. ft. Park Lane Hospital just
outside the city limits of Raytown, in Kansas City, MO. The former
hospital is being converted from a community eyesore to a community
asset that helps needy working families move to a “place of dignity.”
John Wiley, Founder and Board Member, says that once Phase
One of the hospital is completed and the first 11 units are opened,
interim lodging and services for working poor families will be
provided. “Currently our Family Assistance Program provides utility
assistance and coaching and we help families find permanent housing,”
Projected date for the opening has not been set for the first 11 units
but River of Refuge currently helps two to three families per month
through their family assistance program. “River of Refuge helps
working poor families who are motivated by drive and determination,”
John says. “In exchange for interim housing, they are required to make
weekly deposits into their personal savings account, allowing them to
save their own money toward first and last month’s rent, security
deposits, past utility bills and 60 days “worth” of living expenses.”