Believing helping the homeless helps our community, we seek to reduce the need and cost of homeless care in Kansas City by:
Unique among the numerous organizations in Kansas City that serve the
homeless, Artists Helping the Homeless (AHH) is more than its name may
suggest. This innovative program is a
safety net for Kansas City’s safety net, working with a myriad of local agencies
to address the challenges of the homeless and the agencies that serve them.
In 2015, the BE THE CHANGE Program helped over 1,840 people from all segments of Kansas City's homeless population identify and access a wide range of services, individually tailored to address issues that led to or resulted from being homeless. Its longitudinal, client-oriented approach proved effective with more challenging chronic homeless cases, causing it to be dubbed “The Safety Net for the Safety Net.”
The BE THE CHANGE Program continues to develop and building a solid foundation while addressing community challenges.
Despite knowing Kar Woo many years, it was a surprise when he said he was considering closing the store he created and operated for over 25 years to develop a program to reduce the need and cost of care for the homeless in Kansas City. "I think I can save our community $1,000,000 the first year," he explained.
Our core program reduces the need and cost of care for the homeless by helping clients identify and access appropriate resources and facilitating their path off the street. Using the individual, rather than institutions as its starting point, the program draws on evidence-based practices and tailors services to the client, accompanying them throughout their path off the street.
Individual stories document short term successes. Keeping the 18 year old boy off the street and easing the way home for the stranded 91 year old woman are short term successes. Reuniting the young couple that was attacked when their “great adventure” brought them to Kansas City with their family was a short term success. The thank you letter from the chronic homeless person who completed detox, treatment and now in transitional living. Nursing home placement of the chronic homeless person dealing with chronic illness. Short term success is measured one person at a time.
Each ride that allows women in domestic violence and family shelters to legal, medical and housing appointments, the Sunday meals that keep staff in touch with area homeless, finding a safe place for a homeless person being released from a hospital or jail. A young man alienated from family and agencies that could help him getting his GED. Small but important steps are short term successes.
Long term success is reduced need and cost of care for the homeless. Lacking resources and transportation, homeless people defer medical and other matters until they become a crisis. Often they turn to local emergency services that, while nearby, may not be the most appropriate or least expensive. In addition, homeless people with substance disorders and mental illness frequently cycle between the streets, jails and emergency rooms. The Kansas City, Missouri Police Department reports a typical homeless call costs community emergency and judicial services $5,390. Eliminating 1 call a day equates to a $1.7 mln savings.
That goal is accomplished by addressing individual and systemic issues to improve outcomes and efficiency of our clients and the agencies that serve them. That's done by filling gaps to facilitate access to and adherence with programs, to eliminate the need to return to the street and to coordinate care throughout the path off the street.
Each day, staff members log client activity. The primary purpose is to document and communicate client activity and issues and to schedule follow-up meetings or services. The logs are combined and summarized each month providing output statistics such as number of unduplicated clients, rides, assessment and follow-up meetings, detox or treatment enrollments, transitional and long term housing arranged and direct support provided. This data is broken down further by client, source/destination and type of support provided. The status of individuals (retention rates) is compiled periodically. Individual case histories are the ultimate measure. The program estimates the resulting cost savings by multiplying the number of people that got off the street by $5,390. This estimate is considered conservative because it is based on 2009 costs and does not factor the ongoing savings of getting a people that are subjects of homeless calls on a weekly basis or more often off the street.
This 11 bed midtown facility was added to the BE THE CHANGE Program Tool Box in 2015 to provide respite housing and basic needs for chronic homeless men wanting to get off the street.
Short term success is a resident moving on to a recovery or housing program. Preventing a return to the street reduces residents’ reliance on local emergency services (cost savings), improves efficiency for case workers, and improves engagement and outcomes of residents. It allows residence to bridge gaps, follow treatment plans, stay sober and clean while taking steps to identify, qualify and enter other programs or facilities.
The objective of Bodhi House is to assist chronic homeless men in getting off the street and, thus, reducing their reliance on community emergency services. Long term success is for clients to realize and retain housing. For many, Bodhi House is a threshold to getting their life back on track. For others, it is a critical factor in staying on plan.
Bodhi House is part of the BE THE CHANGE Program Tool Box. Like that program, daily logs record client progress. These logs are summarized by service and client. In addition, input is routinely received from case workers and other agencies working with residents as well as the residents. The individual resident’s progress is the primary measure of success.
Bodhi House opened in February 2015. During 2015, 98 men resided there on 123 occasions. The average stay was 3 weeks. Over 80% of the stays resulted in the men moving on to a recovery or housing program, a high success rate for this population that primarily consists of chronic homeless and alienated young adults, potentially Kansas City's next generation chronic homeless.
Clean, sober and ready to be on their own, the homeless find limited housing choices due to lack of funds for deposits, a history with evictions, repossessions and legal issues or inability to pay rent during a lay-off or reduced hours. That often mean neighbors who use alcohol or drugs. Having no or only a small circle of supportive friends adds to the challenge for long-term sobriety, increased financial well being and stability.
The program's activities do not require individual or agency licensing, in part because the program draws upon an extensive collaboration of accredited agencies and professionals to provide specialized services. Program Director,
Program funding presented a challenge. The gaps the program fills exist for a reason. Although essential for clients' success, these services are not typically reimbursed or paid for by insurance and other funding sources. While they view these costs as the client's responsibility, homeless clients are impoverished. And, as a true collaboration, the program tries not to directly compete with other homeless services for the limited traditional homeless funding.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Greater Kansas City Community Foundation
1055 Broadway Blvd., Suite 130, Kansas City, Missouri 64105
816.842.0388 | email@example.com
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