Earlier this year, a new effort was launched in Kansas City, Missouri to provide housing and support services to vulnerable families experiencing homelessness and involved in the child welfare system there. Called KC One Roof, it is modeled on CSH’s Keeping Families Together supportive housing.
The KC One Roof initiative is a partnership between the Jackson County Children’s Division, the Housing Authority of Kansas City (HAKC), Truman Medical Center Behavioral Health, Community LINC, the Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness, CSH, and others in the community.
These organizations participated as a team in CSH’s national One Roof learning collaborative. After HAKC dedicated 55 Family Unification Program (FUP) housing assistance vouchers to the effort, the team also was awarded in-depth technical assistance from CSH to continue its planning and implementation processes.
Recently, the entire team, including CSH, presented their progress to date to the Missouri Governor’s Committee to End Homelessness.
Members of the Governor’s Committee were told twenty-seven families have been referred to KC One Roof for assistance.
“The need is definitely there and clear,” said Kim Keaton, CSH Director of Data & Analytics. “Although not every family is a fit and our resources are limited, we are making real progress to ensure families involved in the child welfare system have the housing and services they need to move forward together and thrive in a stable environment. What is most telling to us is that 72% of the families we have seen thus far are known to the local homelessness response system and struggled to get a roof over their heads.”
According to Keaton, eleven families have been awarded housing assistance vouchers so far, and five families have moved into units with another two expected to move into their apartments very soon.
“What is most gratifying,” said Keaton,” is two families have been reunited as of today. Children and parents are together under one roof and moving forward as a family, which we know is best for everyone.”
Families reunited in housing are receiving services from one of two service provider partners, Truman Medical Center Behavioral Health and Community LINC.
Several individuals representing key groups in the program were involved in the presentation to the Governor’s Committee, including:
– Kim Keaton, CSH
– Tyler Rasmussen, Kansas City Housing Authority, Section 8 Program Director
– Sarah Thomas, Jackson County Children’s Division
– Several representatives from other partners including: Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness, Community LINC, Truman Medical Center Behavioral Health, and Cornerstones of Care
Keaton pointed out that KC One Roof is gaining notoriety for its work around the state. Before briefing the Governor’s Committee, the team of KC One Roof partners presented to the Kansas City Child Abuse Prevention Legislative Roundtable, and in the words of Lori Fluegal from the National Child Protection Training Center, “I think this program is absolutely the right thing to do. So many of Jackson County’s families need both housing and services to achieve stability.”
Not content to rest on its progress, the KC One Roof team is working hard to secure more funding to support additional families as well as cover the costs of a program evaluation.