homelessness | KCUR

homelessness

Chelsea Engstrom / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: How the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the least fortunate among us.

One advocate for people experiencing homelessness says that population is always in crisis. When you add a worldwide pandemic to the mix, the stakes are even higher for them and the organizations that work to provide them the resources to survive.

Chelsea Engstrom / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: How the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the least fortunate among us.

One advocate for people experiencing homelessness says that population is always in crisis. When you add a worldwide pandemic to the mix, the stakes are even higher for them and the organizations that work to provide them the resources to survive.

Courtesy of KMBC live stream

Although the number of cases of COVID-19 is growing in the Kansas City area, the rate of increase does not appear to be. Still, Kansas City Health Department Director Dr. Rex Archer said we must be vigilant.

"Remember about half of folks can get this virus and not become ill enough to seek medical care," Archer said in a press conference Monday on the steps of City Hall. “We know we’ve had community spread without being able to track down somebody who is positive.”

Segment 1: Lenexa, Kansas, is reconsidering its rules around homeless shelters.

Zoning restrictions in Lenexa caused a stir this winter because they precluded the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church from operating a homeless shelter on their campus, which is an old school. A temporary solution was reached, but now the city is taking another look at how it regulates shelters. With possible changes on the horizon, advocates for those experiencing homelessness share their thoughts on the process and its outcomes.

Chelsea Engstrom / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City's 90-bed emergency homeless shelter will close in early April if it cannot raise $1 million, according to its CEO.

Stephanie Boyer said that sum would not keep reStart open forever, and would not reinstate the agency's unique, comprehensive support services for residents, which would require millions of dollars more.

“As far back as I can really tell, this 90-bed program has always lacked appropriate funding,” said Boyer, who took over the 39-year-old agency in January 2019.

Segment 1: A lack of funds will soon lead to the closing of a 90-bed emergency shelter for single adults in Kansas City, Missouri.

Segment 1: Just because mental health services exist, doesn't mean that access to them is equitable.

As many as 56% of adults in the U.S. report that they are unable to receive the treatment they need for their mental illness, and there's no quick fix for the obstacles in their way. Organizations in Kansas City sare working to reach everyone who needs help, but they have a long way to go.

Segment 1: "Kansas City wants to end homelessness," said Josh Henges.

The Veterans Community Project gained national attention in 2018 by using tiny homes to help end veteran homelessness in Kansas City. Two years later and the initiative has expanded to several other states. 

Segment 2, beginning at 24:16: Can mushrooms save Earth?

Kyle Palmer / KCUR 89.3

With a day and a half to go before Christmas, the Salvation Army of Kansas and Western Missouri needs a late push to meet its yearly fundraising goal of $1.2 million.

Major David Harvey says they still need to raise around $400,000.

Adding insult to injury, the Salvation Army vans in the Northland were damaged over the weekend — vandals stole catalytic converters and punched holes in the gas tanks. 

Facebook

A church whose request to operate a temporary homeless shelter was opposed by the city of Lenexa will be able to do so after all.

Under a settlement reached on Friday, Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church will be allowed to use its building, a former elementary school, to house up to 30 homeless adults overnight from Dec. 13 through April 1 and for the next three years.

Google Maps

A Lenexa church is suing the city for denying its request to use its building as a temporary homeless shelter.

Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church says the denial infringes on its exercise of religion, violating the Constitution, state law and federal law.  

The church, at 9400 Pflumm Road, occupies a former elementary school building adjoining commercial and office properties, although the building is zoned residential single family.

Segment 1: Homeless in Lawrence

After the Lawrence Community Shelter cut its capacity almost 50%, where can homeless people legally sleep?

  • Eric Tars, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
  • Renee Kuhl, Lawrence Community Center

Segment 2, beginning at 32:14: Missouri in Movies and TV

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is expanding the Safe Place to include bus routes in Independence, Overland Park, and Kansas City, Kansas.

Arnetta Young, 55, has been a Kansas City bus operator for 20 years. Kansas City busses have been part of the national Safe Space program all that time.

Segment 1: Council rookies relate what the first month on the job has been like.

In her first weeks on the Kansas City City Council Andrea Bough realized, "it puts you in the position of ... making a decision based upon what's good for the city as a whole." She and other fellow first-timers talk about learning how the council operates, and the urgent issues, like gun violence, that were waiting for them when they arrived.

Prairie Fire Development Group

Addressing Kansas City’s shortage of affordable housing options was a main tenet of Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas’ campaign. On Monday, Lucas is set to announce a new affordable housing project geared specifically toward families who have survived domestic violence.

Project 1020

You’d never pick him out as someone who’d been camping in the Johnson County woods for the last year.

There’s a late-winter chill in the house. A space heater is trying to do the work of a busted furnace. Angelina rubs the sleep out of her eyes as her mom gets her washed up and dressed.

It’s 8:45 in the morning. The 8-year-old is already late for school. She didn’t go to bed until after 2 a.m., because sleeping at her great-aunt’s home in the Walnut Park neighborhood in north St. Louis was not the plan. They couldn’t get into her mom’s sister’s apartment a few miles away. So it was back on the bus.

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

A Kansas City-based project aimed at helping end homelessness among veterans was touted as a national model Wednesday by United States Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri, who toured the campus of the Veterans Community Project in south Kansas City.

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

On a night when many people in Kansas City hid from the cold inside under blankets, hundreds of people without homes risked their lives outside.

Volunteers for the Greater Kansas City Point in Time 2019 homeless survey found 377 people in warming stations, outdoors or in other areas of Jackson and Wyandotte counties on Wednesday night, when temperatures dipped to zero degrees Fahrenheit. 

Segment 1: What does this week's extreme cold mean for people without a home?

In the frigid cold Wednesday night, The Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness conducted their annual "point-in-time" survey with the goal of estimating the number of people experiencing homelessness in Kansas City. In this conversation, we hear first impressions on the survey results as well as perspective from a woman currently experiencing homelessness.

Center School District

Center and Hickman Mills school districts in south Kansas City are launching a new initiative to help stabilize homeless students and their families.

Barbara Shelly / KCUR 89.3

The streets near downtown Kansas City are still dark and quiet on this Thursday morning,  but already a green taxi is idling outside of the City Union Mission’s family shelter.

Cameon Valentine and her son, Nicoli, hustle out of their room shortly after 6 a.m. They’re running a bit behind. “Come on, son!” Valentine says.

Focus Features

Segment 1: River of Refuge is a nonprofit organization that helps transition homeless families into permanent housing.

Seg. 1: Food Safety & Feeding The Homeless. Seg. 2: They Call Me Sauce

Nov 15, 2018

Segment 1: Food safety and feeding the homelessness in Kansas City.

The Kansas City Health Department recently intercepted food intended for the homeless out of concern for food safety, then used bleach to ensure it would not be consumed. The story has gone viral, generating a heated discussion in the metro and beyond. On this episode, we address the underlying tensions about how to help, and the needs in our community still going unmet -- with upwards of 4,000 people enduring homelessness.

Free Hot Soup Facebook page

Depending on whom you ask, health department officials on Sunday either stopped an unlicensed group from illegally handing out potentially bacteria-ridden food or destroyed the property of some “friends” having a “picnic.”

According to official documents, the Kansas City Health Department stopped volunteers of Free Hot Soup Kansas City from handing out food at several Kansas City parks because they lacked the required food handling permits. The food was seized and discarded or was destroyed with bleach.

KCMO Homeless Period Project

Menstruating isn't just having a monthly period. It's also having a monthly bill, because buying proper hygiene products such as pads and tampons can be costly.

"It may cost $7 for 22 pads. That's pretty expensive," says Jessica McClellan, founder and president of a Kansas City non-profit called Giving Hope and Help, which provides funds and resources, including menstrual hygiene products, for domestic violence shelters.

Segment 1: Paying for period products can be difficult.

For some people, there’s a financial choice to be made when it comes to buying food, paying the bills, or purchasing pads and tampons. Some have to miss school or work because they don’t have the proper supplies. We talk about menstrual equity in the nation and in Kansas City, and what locals are doing to ensure that people have the supplies they need.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

A Kansas City council committee voted today to send a proposal that would ban panhandling in intersections to the full city council but with the recommendation that it does not pass.

While not mentioning panhandling explicitly, the proposed ordinance would attempt to increase pedestrian safety at intersections and crosswalks by limiting how long a person can be in an intersection. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed it with a 3-2 vote.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Standing on the I-70 exit ramp at Independence Avenue on a cool fall morning is a thin guy, possibly in his late 30s or early 40s, his face weathered by the sun. He’s standing next to a backpack and holding a cardboard sign that says “anything helps.”

Further south, on the western edge of the Country Club Plaza a man in his 50’s wearing a tie-dye shirt carries a sign that says, “Broke as F---.”

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

A proposal aimed at reducing panhandling on city streets has hit a nerve in Kansas City, Missouri, so city officials are taking a step back and plan to rework it. 

On Thursday, more than 70 people packed a room at City Hall to testify both in support and against the measure. Proponents argue panhandling has gotten out of control in their neighborhoods, while opponents say the measure would punish homeless people.  

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