Combating homelessness and housing insecurity
Supporting vulnerable populations has been a root priority of Johnson County Government for many years. In 2022, while working alongside our community partners, we took some important strides to move forward efforts to help those who experience housing insecurity or homelessness. Some of the actions taken resulted from recommendations from the BOCC Housing Subcommittee, followed by BOCC action. The county is tracking and reporting its work in this area in this online guide.
Moving forward through…
…creating a housing coordinator position
In 2022, the BOCC created a Housing Coordinator position to oversee the implementation of its housing strategy, focusing on collaboration with community stakeholders and cities to address homelessness, preserve existing housing, develop attainable housing and promote home ownership. Megan Foreman began that position at the beginning of 2023 and more information on her background is available in this news release. As the work of the BOCC Housing Subcommittee wraps up, the housing coordinator will continue pursuing its recommendations.
…financial support for projects that support cost-burdened renters
For the first time ever, 2022 saw two financial investments from the county into affordable housing projects.
On May 26, 2021, the BOCC authorized a $1 million loan to partially finance the construction of a new affordable housing apartment complex in Shawnee. The Hedge Lane Apartments is a joint venture between Sunflower Development Group and Consolidated Housing Solutions. The $30.5 million project will be built just west of K-7 Highway and 75th Street. All apartments will be dedicated to workforce housing.
Towards the end of the year, on Nov. 17, 2022, the BOCC authorized a $1 million investment of HOME Funds for Prairiebrook Townhomes in Gardner. 60 of the 76 units will be low income.
…allocating funding to help those in need
In 2022, Johnson County Government made the decision to allocate funds from several sources to help combat homelessness and housing insecurity in our community.
On Oct. 20, the BOCC allocated $2,085,000 that originally came to the county as federal Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for the purpose of funding direct community investment programs to address housing and food insecurity. More detail is available in this briefing sheet and this report.
Feasibility Study for a Community Homeless Shelter
Utility Assistance Through Aging & Human Services
Cold Weather Response - Hotel Voucher Shelter & Case Management
Project 10/20 Infrastructure Shelter Requirements to Meet Lenexa Code
Homeless Management Information Software (Caseworthy)
Food Insecurity Program (40 Pantries at $20,000 Each)
On Nov. 17, the BOCC approved nearly $300,000 to address homelessness in Johnson County through two funding mechanisms, facilitated by United Community Services of Johnson County:
- The allocation of $142,527 of 2023 Johnson County Alcohol Tax Funds included $75,000 for a program that helps individuals experiencing substance abuse as well as homelessness to access services and address underlying conditions. It also included $60,000 for Friends of Recovery Association’s Oxford Houses. These are transitional homes for those recovering from substance abuse, including adults who are experiencing homelessness or in danger of homelessness.
- The allocation of $151,500 for the 2023 Human Services Fund included funding for several initiatives including transitional housing, shelter, meals, transportation and case management for homeless youth, families and single adults.
…providing beds to those in the criminal justice system who are housing insecure
Problem Solving Beds allow for justice involved individuals to stay at the Adult Residential Center rent free for a short period (up to 60 days) and address their biggest barrier to success. If they are homeless, the ARC will assist them with finding a job or get them back to work so they have income coming in and share resources to help them maintain their secured housing. In 2022, the Department of Corrections admitted 322 justice involved clients who were housing insecure into Problem Solving Beds. Since the inception of this program, the ARC has served 594 homeless individuals with an average length of stay of 26 days.
Track the county’s progress in this area and learn more about county programs and community resources available to help those experiencing housing insecurity or homelessness in our online Housing and Homelessness Assistance Guide.