Johnson County has identified resources to work with community stakeholders to help address homelessness and housing insecurity in our county. The county has a variety of existing programs that serve residents who are experiencing housing challenges and has recently allocated millions of dollars towards this issue. This is a place to learn more about these efforts.
The Board of County Commissioners' Housing Subcommittee has completed its initial efforts. The results of the 2021 Johnson County Housing Study were released in 2021.
They were presented to the Board of County Commissioners on April 8, 2021 at a Committee of the Whole. At that meeting, the BOCC created the Housing Subcommittee with Commissioners Allenbrand, Fast and Hanzlick to work with community partners and county staff and address where county government has opportunities and potential resources to address housing needs identified in the housing study, including affordable housing and homelessness.
On Sept. 30, 2021, the Housing Subcommittee made its initial report to the BOCC. The report summarized the role of the subcommittee, its process and made recommendations for three primary areas where county government has unique opportunities to support the recommendations of the 2021 Housing Study.
This report out also included a document entitled Johnson County Housing Continuum. It graphically depicts the spectrum from chronically homeless to cost-burdened homeowners. It also includes current resources, results and recommendations.
The Housing Subcommittee reported back to the BOCC on April 28, 2022. At that meeting the subcommittee made the recommendations to address homelessness, preserve existing housing and develop attainable housing and homeownership opportunities. (More details are available in this report.)
On April 6, 2023, the BOCC housing subcommittee presented its final report to the full board. That report included the background of the subcommittee’s work, outcomes and next steps. The report is available here. The subcommittee met its goal of providing direction for future opportunities and the work will now continue with county staff and partners, led by Housing Coordinator Megan Foreman.
The newly created housing coordinator position plays a key role in the community by focusing on these main areas, addressing homelessness, preserving existing housing and developing attainable housing and promoting homeownership.
Megan Foreman began her role as housing coordinator on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. In this role, Foreman brings together community stakeholders that provide housing services and initiatives to work together to improve efficiency on how the county serves people. The position is also a central resource for relevant data.
Foreman’s initial duties will include developing recommendations and priorities for the Board of County Commissioners to consider which builds on the BOCC Housing Subcommittee report presented in April 2022.
On Nov. 17, 2022, the BOCC authorized $1 million investment of HOME Funds for Prairiebrook Townhomes. Sixty of the 76 units will be low income. This is a Low Income Housing Tax Credit project.
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. This was the first time Johnson County Government has provided funding for this type of project.
On Nov. 17, the BOCC approved thousands of dollars of funding 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.
In April 2020, the BOCC accepted an allocation of $116,311,033 in CARES Act funds. One component of the framework of the county’s allocation of those federal dollars included investing 30% to community reinvestment in five BOCC-approved areas, one of which was Housing. As part of that spending plan, Johnson County:
In all, the county reinvested $1.9 million of CARES Act funding for housing support.
At a Committee of the Whole on June 16, 2022, staff presented a framework for distribution of the Local Fiscal Recovery Funds in the amount of $117,009,332. The framework included recommendations for funding for supporting those experiencing homelessness as well as affordable housing.
On Oct. 20, the BOCC allocated $2,085,000 for the purpose of funding direct community investment programs to address housing and food insecurity. You can learn more 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)
Johnson County Government includes several departments that provide direct services to vulnerable populations who are at risk for or experiencing homelessness. Targeted services seek to address the root causes of homelessness by providing wrap-around services and case management.
The Johnson County Mental Health Center addresses homelessness and affordable housing needs through these initiatives:
Homeless Street Outreach. Two FTEs funded through State Mental Health Grant Funds and an Emergency Solutions Grant focus on connecting people experiencing homeless to essential resources such as healthcare, food/shelter, housing and benefits programs.
Permanent Supportive Housing. Twenty-one units for homeless adults with severe/persistent mental Illness provide permanent housing coupled with supportive services, funded by HUD.
Homeless “Set-Aside” Vouchers. Ten Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8) through partnership with the Johnson County Housing Authority are reserved for people with mental illness experiencing homelessness.
Transitional Housing/Breakthrough House. This includes two beds for homeless adults with mental illness, prioritizing people exiting institutions into homelessness (hospitals, nursing facilities, jail). It provides approximately six months of room/board to assist those individuals in transitioning to permanent housing, funded by State Mental Health Grant Funds.
Supported Housing Funds. These funds are targeted to prevent/end homelessness among the population with Severe Mental Illness and/or Substance Use Disorders. It's funded by Kansas Department of Aging and Disabilities Services funds, shared by Community Mental Health Centers across the state.
A 60-day, rent free, non-custodial bed is designated for justice-involved, homeless individuals. A Problem-Solving Bed provides individuals with a safe environment, employment services, transportation, and three meals per day. A PSB allows individuals opportunities to gain employment and save money to ensure a successful transition back into the community.
Department of Health and Environment staff are engaged in coalitions or programs administered by other agencies/entities, while others provide referrals to other agencies/organizations that have housing programs.
The Olathe School District administers Project Impact as part of the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program (authorized by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act).
One of our social workers, Lisa Erlinger-Teel, participates in a collaborative program with several other community organizations (e.g., Health Partnership Clinic, El Centro, Kansas Department of Children and Families, etc.).
These agencies provide a forum twice a month for families experiencing or at risk for homelessness to come and get information about services, etc. The agencies also discuss what services are needed and assist each other in making those services available to families.
Community Health Workers
Community Health Workers in our department regularly work with clients to provide resources on a wide range of issues, such as food pantry assistance, assistance with filling out SNAP applications, KanCare, etc.
When CHWs have a client that is experiencing, or at risk for, homelessness, they try to connect them with other organizations (e.g., Salvation Army, Johnson County Interfaith Hospitality Network).
Utility Assistance Program
Aging and Human Services' Utility Assistance program attempts to help residents pay on utility bills so they can remain on or can be turned back on.
Rental Assistance Program
Under the Rental Assistance program, five cities provide a small amount of money to help with rental assistance.
Staff works closely with Project Home and Impact Olathe to help identify students and families that are on the verge of homelessness. These programs are made up of community organizations, such as schools, churches and social service agencies.
Housing Choice Voucher Program
The Housing Choice Voucher Program is a federally funded program designed to provide subsidies to very low and extremely low income families, allowing them to locate decent, safe housing while maintaining rental payments at an affordable level.
The HOME Program assists eligible homeowners of Johnson County, Kansas with rehabilitation needs of their owner-occupied homes. Health and safety, accessibility and curing local code citations may be addressed through the HOME Program.
Share your input on needs to be addressed in the 2024 HOME program during a public hearing on March 8.
Minor Home Rehabilitation Program
The Minor Home Rehabilitation program assists eligible Johnson County homeowners with home repairs and provides limited accessibility modifications for eligible persons with a disability.
The program addresses repairs that, if left unattended, would have a direct impact on the health and safety of, or accessibility for, the homeowner. Repair work focuses on mechanical systems in the home, and devices or modifications, to make the home accessible.
The Community Development Block Grant program provides annual grants on a formula basis to states, cities, and counties. The funding aims to provide decent housing and a suitable living environment, and expand economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons.
Interested in applying for the Community Development Block Grant? Non-profit 501c3 and cities within Johnson County, see the Application Handbook for more information.
Applications for the 2024 CDBG program are being accepted now. Learn more and apply by May 25, 2023 at noon.
The Emergency Solutions Grants program assists people to quickly regain stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis and/or homelessness. The program previously focused on shelters and now focuses on housing solutions.
Interested in applying for the Emergency Solutions Grant? See the Quick Reference Guide for more information.
The federally funded Emergency Water Assistance Program, facilitated through the Kansas Department for Children and Families, will provide a one-time financial benefit to qualifying Kansas households.
This benefit helps restore or prevent disconnection of water by paying past due or disconnected drinking water or wastewater bills.
Interested in applying for the Emergency Water Assistance Program? Learn more about this program and see if your household qualifies.
Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas (Emergency Assistance)
333 E. Poplar Street A, Olathe, KS 66061
Overland Park Location
9806 W. 87th Street, Overland Park, KS 66212
Hillcrest Ministries of MidAmerica (Transitional Housing for Youth)
401 N Spring Street, Independence, MO 64050
Jewish Family Services (Emergency Assistance)
5801 W. 115th Street Ste 103, Overland Park, KS 66211
Johnson County Interfaith Hospitality Network (Stability Program for Homeless Families and Single Women)
6315 W. 110th Street, Overland Park, KS 66211
Johnson County Mental Health (Street Outreach)
6000 Lamar, Suite 130, Mission KS 66202
1125 W. Spruce St., Olathe, KS 66061
6440 Nieman Road, Shawnee, KS 66203
Johnson County Park and Recreation District (Childcare Scholarships)
Out of School Time
6501 Antioch Road
Mission, KS 66202
Metro Lutheran Ministry (Emergency Assistance)
3031 Holmes Street, Kansas City, MO 64109
reStart, Inc. (Youth Street Outreach)
918 E. 9th St., Kansas City, MO 64106
Salvation Army (Emergency Assistance and Homeless Shelter)
420 E. Santa Fe Street, Olathe, KS 66061