Safety. Stability. Shelter. Skills. These are what help bridge the gap between a crisis and a secure future for vulnerable people. Thanks to you, The CSF is able to award financial support to five transitional living programs that provide the tools, structure and support our vulnerable families and youth need to succeed. But there are still a lot of Jackson County kids and families that need this kind of transitional living assistance.
What is Transitional Living?
Transitional living programs take different forms, but simply put, the term refers to a supportive community offering temporary housing for those without a home, or those experiencing a crisis. Most often, the goal is to offer a safe place for people to live while they learn financial literacy and job readiness, learn life skills, and get support for their mental health, so they can become self-sufficient and find a permanent place to live.
Why are Transitional Living Programs Needed?
There are a number of reasons someone may need transitional housing. Those experiencing domestic violence, suffering from addictions or mental health challenges, or those experiencing temporary homelessness all need a safe place and wrap-around support.
Young people experiencing homelessness are, unfortunately, a growing demographic.
- In 2020, just under 172,000 people in families with children were experiencing homelessness.
- At least one in 30 children ages 13–17 experience some form of homelessness, unaccompanied by a parent or guardian, each year.
- LGBTQ youth experience higher rates of homelessness, and are at a high risk of physical assaults and sexual exploitation, trauma, mental and substance use disorders.
Homelessness can stem from trauma, and as a form of trauma itself, can have a serious impact on a child or adolescent. Youth at risk for or experiencing homelessness:
- Have much higher rates of behavioral problems, as well as short- and long-term physical health problems.
- Have higher rates of mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, than children in stable homes.
- Often struggle with self-esteem, which makes them more vulnerable to substance abuse and suicide.
- Have academic problems, including below-grade reading levels, poor school attendance, higher rates of learning disabilities, and bigger challenges advancing to the next grade.
Supporting Transitional Living Programs in Jackson County
Thanks to the existing ⅛-cent sales tax in Jackson County, in 2022, the CSF was able to award $897,030 to our partner funded organizations providing these services. In 2023, we’ll award $971,108.
That critical funding means they are able to continue or start transitional living programs aimed at successfully supporting and reintegrating young people from homeless living arrangements into safe living spaces with opportunities for developing independent life skills.
- Hillcrest Transitional Housing was awarded funds to start a new transitional living program.
- Community LINC was awarded funds for their Homeless Youth and Children’s Safe Haven.
- Every Child’s Hope was awarded funding for community-based transitional living and temporary shelter at Stepping Stone.
- Mother’s Refuge was awarded funding for their transitional living program for young mothers and babies, and for their therapy and shelter for homeless teenage mothers and babies.
- Sheffield Place was awarded funds for immediate crisis intervention for children.
2021’s funding meant your tax dollars helped 628 children and 342 families with these critical transitional living services. Our goal is to help even more kids this year.
That’s good news, but the need is still great. The 2021 Regional Houseless Forum, sponsored by the City of Kansas City’s Houseless Task force and The Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness, found there are still not enough transitional living programs for youth in our county. Whether in the Jackson County suburbs or the urban core, too many of our kids are at risk of homelessness. And it’s not a problem that will solve itself or just go away. In fact, without continued support, it’s a problem that will just get worse.
Investing in these kids is vital to their well-being, and vital to our community. It’s why we’re so committed to stewarding the levy resources well, so our partner organizations can keep doing important work on behalf of all our kids.