Artists Helping the Homeless, Inc.
3625 Warwick Blvd
Kansas City MO 64111
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 668-1007
Fax 913- 345-2090
Mission Statement

Believing helping the homeless helps our community, we seek to reduce the need and cost of homeless care in Kansas City by:

  • Providing aid with respect
  • Providing advocacy for those seeking to leave the street
  • Raising awareness of homeless issues in Kansas City
  • Working with, rather than duplicating existing services
  • Addressing underlying causes 
We facilitate the path off the street by helping the homeless identify and access resources to meet immediate needs and address underlying issues. The program is unique in several ways: 
  • Client Oriented: The BE THE CHANGE Program works with clients where they are, literally and figuratively, and uses the individual, rather than institutions as its starting point.
  • Continuum of Care: Accompanying clients throughout their path off the street improves coordination and consistency of service. Follow-up meetings provide encouragement, support, and allow plans to be adjusted as clients progress.
  • True Collaboration: Focused on improving the collective impact of the local safety net, the program addresses individual and systemic challenges, thus improving outcomes and efficiency for other agencies.
  • Not Facility Based: Instead of making clients come to us, we meet them where they are: on the streets, in hospitals, care facilities, police stations, homeless and recovery services, shelters and transitional living houses --- frequently in facilities of other agencies.
  • Effective with Chronic Homeless: The intensive street outreach that stays in touch with this mobile and hard to reach clientele and follow-up meetings that provide ongoing support and engagement has proven effective with the chronic homeless and at risk young adult homeless.
  • Return on Investment: By providing access to more appropriate resources and, ultimately helping clients off the street, the program has saved hospitals, ambulance, police and judicial services millions of dollars annually, roughly over $5 for each $1 invested in the program.
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Mr Kar Y Woo
Board Chair Ms Christine Fuhrman
Board Chair Company Affiliation KidsTLC
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2008
Volunteer Opportunities
Ways to donate, support, or volunteer
  • Donations may be made through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation or PayPal, both of which can be accessed through the website above or by check mailed to our administrative office: 11412 Knox; Overland Park, KS  66210.
  • To donate art, stock, clothing and other items or to explore volunteer opportunities, please contact Kar Woo at 816-668-1007 or by e-mail at kato@ahh.org.
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

 Breakdown
Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Statements
Mission Statement

Believing helping the homeless helps our community, we seek to reduce the need and cost of homeless care in Kansas City by:

  • Providing aid with respect
  • Providing advocacy for those seeking to leave the street
  • Raising awareness of homeless issues in Kansas City
  • Working with, rather than duplicating existing services
  • Addressing underlying causes 
We facilitate the path off the street by helping the homeless identify and access resources to meet immediate needs and address underlying issues. The program is unique in several ways: 
  • Client Oriented: The BE THE CHANGE Program works with clients where they are, literally and figuratively, and uses the individual, rather than institutions as its starting point.
  • Continuum of Care: Accompanying clients throughout their path off the street improves coordination and consistency of service. Follow-up meetings provide encouragement, support, and allow plans to be adjusted as clients progress.
  • True Collaboration: Focused on improving the collective impact of the local safety net, the program addresses individual and systemic challenges, thus improving outcomes and efficiency for other agencies.
  • Not Facility Based: Instead of making clients come to us, we meet them where they are: on the streets, in hospitals, care facilities, police stations, homeless and recovery services, shelters and transitional living houses --- frequently in facilities of other agencies.
  • Effective with Chronic Homeless: The intensive street outreach that stays in touch with this mobile and hard to reach clientele and follow-up meetings that provide ongoing support and engagement has proven effective with the chronic homeless and at risk young adult homeless.
  • Return on Investment: By providing access to more appropriate resources and, ultimately helping clients off the street, the program has saved hospitals, ambulance, police and judicial services millions of dollars annually, roughly over $5 for each $1 invested in the program.
Background Statement

Unique among the numerous organizations that serve Kansas City's 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 individual and systemic challenges in order to improve outcomes and efficiency of its homeless clients and the agencies that serve them. 

AHH was founded with 501(c)3 status in February 2008 to use art to fund a Sunday night homeless meal program and to raise awareness of the challenges of the homeless.  During the meals, founder Kar Woo heard the stories and challenges of the homeless and realized he could help them identify and access appropriate services. Soon his nearby store became a homeless drop-in center.
 
Across the street, Saint Luke’s Plaza Hospital’s ED experienced a sharp increase in the number and cost of homeless cases. When they called a meeting of community emergency and homeless services to address the problem, their homeless patients suggested they invite Woo.  At that meeting, the KCMO Police Department set the cost of a typical homeless call at $5,390.  With the nearest shelter 4 miles away, the lack of transportation was a primary factors in the sudden increase in ED cases.  Providing transportation to avoid one call a day could save over $1,000,000 annually.  
 
In January 2010, Woo closed the business he created nearly 30 years earlier to, with a grant from the Saint Luke's Foundation, create the BE THE CHANGE Program to fill a gap in the local safety net by providing transportation. During the rides, the staff heard their riders’ stories and challenges and identified other gaps in the safety net.  As those gaps were addressed, a longitudinal, client centered approach emerged.  Agencies saw their outcomes improve and a true collaboration was born.. Today, the program works with hospitals, shelters, homeless and recovery services, police, jails, courts, corporations and community facilities across the metro to reduce the need and cost for care for the homeless.
 
The program offers clients a diverse menu of existing services to meet their specific needs. Services are provided to all segments of the local homeless population, with initiatives addressing the unique needs of specific segments,  Initiatives like Bodhi House and Finnegan Place have proven very effective for chronic homeless and alienated young adults, segments that rely heavily on local emergency services.  
Impact Statement

In 2017, the BE THE CHANGE Program helped over 2,600  people from all segments of Kansas City's homeless population identify and access a wide range of services and develop and execute individually tailored plans to address the issues that led to or resulted from being homeless.  The principles of this program have been adapted in initiatives that collaboratively address systemic challenges facing specific segments of the homeless population: 

  • Save Our Seniors secures nursing home placement for area homeless, often chronic homeless individuals with disabilities or chronic illnesses that relied heavily on local hospitals and emergency services. With better nutrition, hygiene and access to health care, their reliance is substantially reduced.
  • Respite Housing (Bodhi House) eliminates the need to return to the street while waiting to be admitted to treatment programs and housing. Case workers from AHH and other agencies provide wrap around services.  Over 90% of Bodhi residents progressed to treatment or housing.
  • Judicial/Jail Diversion: The program’s success with clients in drug and mental health courts prompted prosecutors and judges to explore applying the longitudinal approach to homeless judicial cases.  
  • Finnegan Place:  This 17 unit apartment building provides a clean and sober environment with peer support and access to the full menu of AHH services for men and women in the final states of reintegration. 
  • Medical and Dental Clinic (Finnegan Place):  A medical and dental clinic staffed by volunteer professionals was opened  to promote preventive and proactive treatment. Services are provided free of charge.
  • Scholarship Program: The Artists Helping the Homeless Scholarship Fund was established at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation to fund education and job training for previously homeless individuals participating in a structure recovery program in order to enable clients to compete in today's job markets.
Needs Statement

The BE THE CHANGE Program continues to develop and build a solid foundation while addressing community challenges.  

  • Operational Funding:   Requests for services nearly doubled in 3 years.  Operational funding will build AHH's staff and capacity to meet the growing demand as well as to address the ever-changing needs of this population. 
  • Capital Campaign: The goal is to pay-off the acquisition Finnegan Place ($400,000 remaining), finish the basement with laundry and meeting rooms, and add a parking lot ($200,000).
  • Meals/Food:  AHH provides 3 meals a day for residents, as well as 350-500 meals through its weekly dinner programs.  Meals for 15 brought to Bodhi or help with the larger weekly meal programs is always appreciated.
  • Hand-Up Funds: When homeless clients can’t afford boots or tools needed for a job, help with rent to keep their housing, school supplies and other seemingly simple things in order to take the next step; a hand-up can be provided through small gifts set earmarked to the AHH Hand Up Fund..
  • Handicap Accessible Shuttle: The conversion of AHH's next van to become handicapped accessible will allow the agency to directly assist clients with disabilities.  
Service Categories
Homeless Services/Centers
Hot Lines & Crisis Intervention
Health Support
Areas of Service
MO - Jackson County Urban Core
MO - Jackson County
MO - Clay County
MO - Platte County
KS - Wyandotte County
KS - Johnson County
MO - Cass County
Geographic Area Served Narrative
Kansas City's homeless are highly mobile, moving freely from city to city, county to county, state to state.  This mobility creates challenges, and often barriers to service for case workers facing geographical, corporate and fiscal constraints.  The BE THE CHANGE Program is unique in its ability to improve communication, coordination and service across these boundaries.  AHH's vans are seen daily criss-crossing the metro to link Kansas City's homeless with available services.
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement

The BE THE CHANGE Program has grown organically --- and exponentially.  This growth indicates the effectiveness of its longitudinal, client-oriented approach in improving the collective impact of Kansas City's safety net. 

That growth also presents challenges.  Most of the gaps filled exist for a reason, these services are not reimbursed or otherwise funded. Yet, as the program has demonstrated, the community as well as other safety net providers benefit when these barriers are removed, care coordinated and people can escape the chaos of the street.. A study by a team from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences found there is a large cost savings by helping homeless people access appropriate existing services.  Indeed, a conservative estimate is that AHH programs save the community over $5 for each $1 they cost.
 
Funding typically is a major challenge for non-profits.  Because AHH is a true collaboration, its funding plan has avoided sources like the United Way that traditional fund homeless and recovery agencies.  Rather, the plan solicits new sources that share the vision that helping the homeless is helping the community, often those who have experienced AHH's work first-hand.  The goal is to now widen the appeal to others in our community.  
 
Capacity is another challenge.  The program schedules requests for rides on a first come, first served basis.  Criteria and procedures for service has been narrowed.  Additional vans and drivers have been added.  Still, valid requests are routinely turned down due to a full schedule.  Bodhi House operates at or near capacity.  
 
The program has a strong, dedicated staff, many of whom have shared the experiences of their clients.  The longitudinal approach requires both empathy and lengthy workday.  While demanding, this approach is very rewarding because staff can watch as clients progress from relying on the community to being a contributor.  
 
Yet another challenge is identifying and addressing new developments...staying up on a rapidly changing cultural, economic and political climate. New drugs appear on the street.  The challenges on the street, while similar to the wider community, but often magnified.  New technology -- but at a cost.  So much can be done...the opportunities are great.
Programs
Description

AHH's core program reduces the need and cost of care for the homeless by helping clients identify and access appropriate resources to escape the chaos of the street. Starting the individual, rather than institutions, the program draws on evidence-based practices and tailors services to the client, accompanying them throughout their path off the street. 

The program improves the collective impact of Kansas City’s homeless services safety net by filling gaps with a wide range of services including transportation, advocacy, housing and care coordination. An intensive outreach effort meets clients where they are, literally and figuratively.  A client-oriented approach tailors services to meet immediate needs and address underlying issues.  Coordinating these services reduces fragmentation and duplication and allows multiple issues to be addressed concurrently. Working with clients throughout their path off the street improves communication, consistency and engagement.
Program Budget 435,000
Category Human Services, General/Other Emergency Assistance
Population Served Homeless, ,
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success

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

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 and often 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 million 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, by coordinating care, by eliminating the need to return to the street and by social reintegration.  

Program Success Monitored By

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.

Examples of Program Success
The program has saved community emergency services over $15,000,000 in its short 8 year life.  That estimate is conservative.  One hospital executive told staff the program save them $1.7 million in 2014 alone and another reported patients released to the program had a recidivism rate one-third others.  In 2017, over 2,600 individuals received rides and/or assistance from AHH.  The program is now the homeless discharge planner for hospitals and jails across the metro.
 
Individual successes are reason for the savings.  Uniting the young man who lived 3 years in a homeless camp here with his family on the east coast.  The letter from the homeless man the program met "in an out of control spiral" that could have ended his life, but who reunited with his family after realizing "how others don't have the blessings (he) still has."  And, the man now employed and living in his own place who when we met him was "content he'd spend his life in jail" or "die on the street."
 
Description

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 homeless men wanting to get off the street or to bridge gaps while awaiting admission to treatment or housing programs.  (Wait times between detox and treatment for the uninsured run 4-8 weeks).  Bodhi House is monitored 24/7.

Away from the chaos of the street, residents access wrap-around services through case workers provided by AHH and referring agencies. House staff support the case managers with a holistic approach that includes group exercise program at local gyms, AA/NA meetings, community service, group counseling and social reintegration activities. Compliance with court and treatment plans is monitored and rides to medical, legal and other appointments provided.  Residents also have access to the Finnegan medical/dental clinic.  The goal is to avoid relapse and maintains contact with this highly mobile clientele to improve efficiency.
Program Budget 150,000
Category Housing, General/Other Housing Counseling
Population Served Homeless, Unemployed, Underemployed, Dislocated, Alcohol, Drug, Substance Abusers
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success

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.

Many residents have been on the street years, if not decades, and face multiple issues that led to or resulted from life on the street. Frequently, the path off the street is lengthy and involves multiple agencies. Developing, following and adapting plans to address these issues are short term successes.  In 2017, 89% of the 109 residents of Bodhi successfully moved on in their reintegration plan.  Another 3% left, but later returned to the program.  For the target population, this is a high rate of progress.

Long-Term Success

The objective of Bodhi House is to assist chronic homeless men and young adults alienated from family and the agencies that could help them in getting off the street and, thereby, reducing their reliance on community emergency services. Long term success is for clients to be engaged, clean and sober until be accepted in a treatment, housing or other program consistent with their reintegration plan. 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.

One example is the young man met in a hospital who agreed to try Bodhi House for a week when discharged. At Bodhi, he surprised everyone when he reported he’d “been sober for two months for the first time in years.” He subsequently moved to a transitional living facility, enrolled in college and recently, he wrote “You’ve given me a chance to get my life back on track…you’ve given me time because without you my time may have very well run out.”

Program Success Monitored By

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.  

Because Bodhi House is part of the wider BE THE CHANGE Program, the program usually continues to assist the client as he progresses toward reintegration.
Examples of Program Success

"I met (AHH) at the lowest time in my life.  I had lost everything,..Absolutely no hope for the future.  I wanted a better life, just didn't know how to achieve it when you picked me up at detox."  The man would go to Bodhi for a month awaiting admission to a treatment program.  Today, he is employed in his "dream job" and has his own home.

"When I met you in jail, I was looking at death or prison for the rest of my youth. ... When I got to the program I didn't know how good I had it and I did the last thing I should have done and ran from my future. .. The second time I was ready to change,"  the young man facing multiple substance and legal issues.wrote.  He returned to Bodhi where he connected with several collaborating agencies to address these issues.  Two years after first encountering the program, 
he lives at Finnegan.
 
A third man used an AHH scholarship to study to be a personal trainer while at Bodhi.  Today he is a licensed trainer for a national company. 
Description

Clean, sober and ready to be on their own, the homeless find limited housing choices due to lack of funds for deposits, checkered legal, housing or credit histories or a new job with the potential of lay-off or reduced hours. That often meant 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. 

Finnegan Place, a 17 unit apartment building in midtown, provides a monitored clean and sober environment with peer support and an on-site medical and dental clinic, was designed to fill this gap.   The BE THE CHANGE Program provides support and rides to work, school, appointments and AA meetings  as well as the activities available at Bodhi House.. Case workers from AHH and collaborating agencies provide wrap around services to residents.
 
Finnegan Place can house 40 residents in 6 two-bedroom and 11 one-bedroom newly renovated all-electric apartments.
Program Budget 150,000
Category Housing, General/Other Transitional Housing
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent, ,
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success
Finnegan provided home for three activities, primarily for Bodhi House and Finnegan Place residents, that expanded AHH services and collaborations. reSolve LLC provides group counseling twice a month for residents. World Outreach Foundation coordinates professionals to staff the medical and dental clinic. Trinity UMC Thrift Store provides slightly worn clothing for clients of both AHH and other agencies. Several residents have completed job training or college courses to prepare them for today's job market.
 
Many of Finnegan's residents were chronic homeless or alienated young adults that relied heavily on local emergency services before completing recovery. They typically were the subject of 1 or more such calls a month. If each of them being housed in 2017 saved just 1 emergency call, it would equate to a savings to local hospitals and emergency services of over 4400,000. In all likelihood, significantly more calls were avoided.
Long-Term Success
Finnegan Place opened September 2016 following a successful 5 month pilot program.  Through December 2017, Finnegan was home to 75 people, 22 residing there at year-end.  Of the 53 residents that moved on, 36 moved into a long-term residence and 12 went to another program, a 91% progress rate.  Finnegan Place allows BE THE CHANGE to provide clients services throughout the continuum of care.  Half of Finnegan Place residents entered the program at Bodhi House, addressed a variety of issues and ultimately moved to Finnegan as the final step in their reintegration plan.     
 
One apartment was converted to a medical and dental clinic for homeless clients to foster proactive and preventive care. The goal is to reduce reliance on hospital EDs for routine issues and to promote timely and preventive care. The clinic is staffed by volunteer professionals a half day a week. Opening late spring 2017, services, including physicals with HIV and STD testing were provided to 97 clients.  
Program Success Monitored By
Success is measured by individual resident progress, including staying clean and sober. Residents are participants of the BE THE CHANGE Program. Ultimately, residents will gain personal and financial stability that allows them to move on into housing that is conducive to their recovery.
 
Success of the clinic is measured by the reduced reliance of residents on hospital emergency rooms and increased proactive and preventive care. (See results above)
Examples of Program Success
Individual success stories are already occurring.
The two women referred by the KCMO Police had been living in their less than dependable car. Because both were experiencing health issues and lacked a mailing address, finding and keeping a job was challenging. While they refused a shelter, they agreed to move into a Finnegan apartment. There, they addressed their health issues, get their car running and found jobs. Three and one half months later, they moved into an apartment nearer those jobs.
Several months into the program, the parole officer said he could not believe he was working with the same person. On the street, the man frequently missed meetings and repeatedly was in trouble. AHH met him in a hospital. After addressing several issues at Bodhi House, he moved to Finnegan Place where he continued to do well and was hired by the program as peer monitor at Bodhi House. Soon he was promoted to House Manager. He was released from probation ahead of schedule.
Description
The two meal programs are an integral part of the BE THE CHANGE Program's intensive street outreach.  The Sunday in the park (outdoor) dinner in midtown KCMO and Thursday sit down meal at the Center of Grace in Olathe (served at table) are a chance to meet or catch up with area homeless.   
 
Shoes, coats, sleeping bags, gloves, socks, underwear and other essentials have been distributed at meals. 
 
These meals provide an opportunity to build trust and rapport with area homeless and for the homeless to express concerns for others who may be in need, or to request assistance including help entering detox or treatment programs.
 
The Sunday meal serves 60-120 servings, rain or shine.  In Olathe, 250-300 servings are provided.  Meals are prepared and served by volunteers usually from local churches and synagogues.   
Program Budget 5000
Category Human Services, General/Other Human Services, General/Other
Population Served Homeless, ,
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success
The meals provide nourishment for those in need ranging from young children to senior citizens.  But they are more than just a meal.  BE THE CHANGE staff visit with people they recognize and meet new faces.  The objective is when the person is ready to make a change, for them to call the program for help. 
  
Long-Term Success
These BE THE CHANGE Program resulted from and applies the principles learned in the Sunday Meal Program.  The meals, especially the Sunday meal, demonstrate the BtC staff are available.  One client told researchers that conducted a six-month study of the program, "The difference is they are out here with us."  A hospital social worker said something similar, "I was excited to have someone who would be able to do more within the community."  The meal programs extend the reach of not only the BtC Program, but case workers at collaborating agencies. 
 
These programs have led to hundreds of people getting the help they need and get off the street.  These conversations have also led to systemic needs being identified, addressed with collaborating agencies and the introduction of additional services.
Program Success Monitored By While the primary measurement is number of servings, the true benefit is meeting and staying in contact with the local homeless population.  The latter is measured by overall program results.
Examples of Program Success
It was a warm spring afternoon. As the serving tables were being set up, a man walked up to Kar Woo and said he'd heard that Woo could help him. He wanted to go to detox. Woo did a brief intake, made a couple calls and introduced the man to another BtC staff member who drove him to a detox facility that was waiting for him. Within a half an hour, the man had taken a big first step. That story has been repeated in varying forms regularly throughout the years.
CEO Comments
Kansas City is blessed with many strong, dedicated individuals and agencies addressing the needs of area homeless.  But, as the Task Force on Homelessness noted, capacity is limited and people are falling through the gaps.  The need and cost of care for the homeless is significant.  A typical homeless call cost $5,390 according to the KCMO Police.
 
Rather than reinventing the wheel, AHH tries to make it roll better.  That means uniting a network of sometimes competing agencies toward a common goal.  Rather than focusing on services provided, AHH utilizes a client by client approach, setting individual goals of ultimately getting people off the street.  
 
Achieving that goal requires the collaboration of many other agencies doing what they do well  It also requires gaining the trust and ongoing engagement of area homeless. It requires all parties to communicate individual and systemic challenges and to collaborate on solutions.  That's been achieved by demonstrating improved outcomes and efficiency for all.
 
Despite helping hundreds off the street and saving emergency services millions, we have only scratched the surface.  New gaps are identified, including those resulting from changes in governmental policies.  New challenges, like the medical and dental clinic arise.  Improving the collective impact of Kansas City's homeless services safety net is paying dividends.   
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mr Kar Y Woo
Term Start Feb 2008
Email kato@ahh.org
Experience
Kar. Woo obtained a Bachelors in Psychology with work toward a Masters in Counseling at the KU before starting a business after his family immigrated to the US.  For nearly 30 years, he operated a retail gift, fine art and furniture business with residential and commercial projects throughout the Midwest. In 2010, Mr. Woo closed his business to tackle the community problem, the soaring need and cost of care for the homeless.  With a grant from the Saint Luke's Foundation, he launched the BE THE CHANGE Program.  Since its inception, Woo has been on the street 7 nights a week working with the homeless and agencies that serve them.  Acutely familiar with local health, emergency, homeless and recovery services, Woo gained Missouri Recovery Support Specialist accreditation.  Today, he is well known and highly respected by the target population and wider community.  He has twice made presentations to the National Health Care for the Homeless Conference, the Kansas Conference on Poverty and the Missouri Leadership Challenge as well as receiving numerous local honors. 
 
Kar Woo says his life prepared him for the BE THE CHANGE Program.  After attending school in Kowloon, he came to the US to study at Waldorf College in Iowa, then the University of Iowa and KU.  Woo became accustomed to asking questions to understand campus language and customs.  While his apartment building burned, he found himself on the street and, uninsured, owing for the furnishings the fire destroyed.  Starting and operating his business also provided a wealth of personal and business lessons. 
 
He first encountered the homeless when he moved his store near the Plaza.  Walking his dog in Mill Creek Park one Sunday night, he saw MNU students talking and serving homeless people dinner.  He joined in, heard their stories and realized he could help them identify and access resources to address their issues much as he solved clients and business issues.  His experiences began to come together. 
Staff
Paid Full-Time Staff 8
Paid Contractors 0
Volunteers 10
Retention Rate 75%
Staff Diversity (Ethnicity)
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 5
Hispanic/Latino 1
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 0
Male 9
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Bi-Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Collaborations
By design, the BE THE CHANGE program works with, rather than duplicates the many dedicated specialized services that comprise the homeless services safety net.  It improves the collective impact of these services by filling gaps, coordinating care, providing intensive street outreach and working with clients as they progress from agency to agency.   It is uniquely positioned to improve communication, consistency and client engagement in a community spanning two states, five counties and numerous cities.
 
A true collaboration, the program was honored to be recognized with the 2017 NonProfit Connect Excellence in Collaboration Award.  It works with a wide range of organizations sharing the common goal of helping mutual homeless clients obtain the assistance they need and to, ultimately, secure long term housing.  This network includes hospitals, health care providers, homeless and domestic violence shelters, detox and treatment programs, many local homeless programs, drug and mental health courts, police departments across the metro, transitional living facilities, local universities, corporations, churches and many others.  
 . 
These collaborations take many forms including financial and in-kind support, client referral or treatment, assistance on individual clients, training and technical assistance.  Because it is not facility based, the program often works with clients in facilities of collaborating agencies. This is possible because the program addresses individual and systemic challenges to improve outcomes and efficiency for its partners.   
Awards
Award/RecognitionOrganizationYear
Excellence in Collaboration (with Saint Luke's Hospital)Nonprofit Connect2017
Amy Fox Servant's Heart AwardNewhouse2016
Finalist, Citizen of the YearKansas City Star2015
Aaron L. Levitt Social Entrepreneurship Challenge ChangemakerUMKC Henry W Bloch School of Management Department of Public Affairs2014
Michael Williams Professional AwardKansas City Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery Support Coalition2014
The 100 Making KC a Nicer PlaceKC Magazine2012
Champion VolunteerCity of Kansas City, Missouri2011
Hero of the YearPrimitivo Garcia World Language Elementary School2011
Professional AwardNational Alliance on Mental Illness - Kansas City Chapter2010
Stuart Whitney Award for Excellence in Community AdvocacyHomeless Services Coalition of Greater Kansas City2009
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
CEO Comments

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. 

Board Chair
Board Chair Ms Christine Fuhrman
Company Affiliation KidsTLC
Term Mar 2017 to Mar 2019
Board Members
NameAffiliation
Jody Abbott North Kansas City Hospital
Ron Barnhart Retired Physician
Mike Belcher P1 Group
Mary Blomquist Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools
Liz Cessor Saint Luke's Health System
Jeff Dozier Self-employed
Christine Fuhrman TLC Kids
Dean Kanterdahl Retired - Mid America Regional Council
Marcia Katerndahl Housewife, Community Volunteer
Sara Kircher Retired - Waddell & Reed, Inc
Russ Townsley Retired Grain Company Executive
Eric Vernon Baldwin and Vernon LLC
Jennifer Wettstein
Kar Woo Artists Helping the Homeless
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 12
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 7
Female 7
Unspecified 0
Governance
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 64%
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 86%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 50%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Standing Committees
Executive
Personnel
CEO Comments The Board of Directors actively engages as a full partner with AHH’s Director and team in continuous efforts to strategically address Kansas City’s homeless population by truly being the safety net for the safety net. We understand that this is an enormous challenge and one that AHH cannot do alone. The Board and AHH as a whole are continuously seeking other formal, collaborative partnerships who are passionate about engaging in a system-wide change to better serve this population. Hospitals, court systems and various police departments regularly seek out AHH for its unique, individualized services. In order to sustain our services and programming, we are aiming to formalize many of these partnerships. In 2017, NonProfit Connect awarded AHH & St. Luke’s Hospital their annual Excellence in Collaboration award. This collaboration resulted in 2,619 individuals receiving services , including several hundred chronically homeless individuals and alienated young adults that got off the street.. We hope to replicate these outcomes with other agencies who routinely rely upon AHH so that together we can make a lasting impact in our communities. Lastly, the Board of Directors, Executive Committee & AHH leadership meet regularly to review and assess the ever changing needs and dynamics of this population as well as to provide guidance and support to the entire AHH team and its recipients.
Financials
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2018
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2018
Projected Revenue $740,000
Projected Expenses $740,000
Foundation Comments
  • FY 2017, 2016, 2015: Financial data reported using IRS Form 990.  
  • Foundation/corporate revenue line items may include contributions from individuals.
Detailed Financials
 
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$611,503$506,634$363,668
Administration Expense$20,692$31,981$19,101
Fundraising Expense$4,925$1,101$2,518
Payments to Affiliates----$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.341.231.51
Program Expense/Total Expenses96%94%94%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue1%0%1%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$1,170,267$980,679$529,017
Current Assets$466,526$257,433$374,343
Long-Term Liabilities$427,117$448,453$132,500
Current Liabilities$25,737$31,244$17,114
Total Net Assets$717,413$500,982$379,403
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities18.138.2421.87
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets36%46%25%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountAnonymous $142,000Anonymous $125,000Anonymous $145,120
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountAnonymous $150,000Anonymous $82,500Anonymous $136,640
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountAnonymous $82,150Anonymous $66,000Anonymous $66,100
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Campaign Purpose Purchase of Finnegan Place, a sober living apartment for those reintegrating, and make improvements including meeting rooms and a surface parking lot
Goal $600,000.00
Dates Aug 2016 to July 2019
Amount Raised to Date 150000 as of Apr 2017
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years No
Organization Comments
AHH continues to grow in scope and extent of services to fill gaps and to address challenges of particular segments of Kansas City's homeless population in order to reduce the need and cost of care for the homeless.   In 2015 Bodhi House was created so homeless individuals that had completed detox did not have to return to the street while waiting 4-8 weeks to be admitted to a treatment program.  In 2016, Finnegan Place Apartments opened to provide a clean and sober environment with peer support for those who successfully completed recovery, but could not find supportive housing as they started living independently.  In 2017, a medical and dental clinic was created to foster proactive and preventive care in a population whose medical decisions were usually crisis driven.  Over this period, the number of clients increased nearly 50%.
 
Revenues in 2017 included ongoing support of hospitals, community coalitions and friends.  Several grants, the largest from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, funded new initiatives and specific services.  Receipts included over $120,000 designated for use in 2018.
 
Personnel costs were a major element of both the expense structure (44%) and increase in total expenses (67%), that latter attributed to the sharp increase in requests for service and full year staffing of Finnegan Place.  The balance of the increased expenses was supplies, depreciation, interest and insurance, all related to Finnegan Place.    
 
A substantial portion of the budget is dedicated to the residential facilities that house a relatively small portion (7%) of AHH clients.  However, the residents include many people who have been chronically homeless or alienated young adults.  Both groups rely heavily on local emergency services.  Reducing that reliance with housing and support results in a significant savings to local emergency service providers.  Eliminating that reliance by addressing underlying issues and facilitating their reintegration increases the savings by a multiple.   
 
AHH is working to broaden support for programs that fill gaps, like this and transportation for women in family and domestic violence shelters, that exist because such services are not funded through insurance and traditional sources.  These programs return community savings that are a multiple of their cost.  
 
 
Other Documents
KC Crisis Intervention Team Newsletter2017View
City File, 435 Magazine2016View
Dec 15 KC Star Article2015View
A Typical Day - Staff Log 8/142014View
May 12 KC Star Article2012View
Organization Name Artists Helping the Homeless, Inc.
Address 3625 Warwick Blvd
Kansas City, MO 64111
Primary Phone (816) 668-1007
Contact Email katoahh@me.com
CEO/Executive Director Mr Kar Y Woo
Board Chair Ms Christine Fuhrman
Board Chair Company Affiliation KidsTLC
Year of Incorporation 2008