Aiding in the Fight Against Homelessness
● By Family Features
Home can be defined many different ways, however, approximately 578,424 people in the United States experience homelessness on any given night, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
There are many factors that can contribute to an individual or family member becoming homeless. From problems at home, such as divorce or domestic violence, to illness or disability, job loss or low wages, any number of changes can be the difference in having a place to call home and being forced to find temporary residence or living on the streets.
For nearly 40 years, Hillcrest Transitional Housing has offered homeless adults, youth and families a disciplined educational program within a caring, supportive environment. Unlike other organizations where focus is on one-time or emergency care, Hillcrest’s primary objective is to move clients from homeless to a state of self-sufficiency within 90 days, although longer term housing options may be available to those with excessive barriers to finding housing. Hillcrest also provides a transitional housing program for homeless teens and young adults, ages 16-20, for up to 24 months, who have an educational goal.
Who They Help
In exchange for rent and utility-free housing, adults are required to find full-time (35-40 hours per week) employment, obey program guidelines and attend 4-5 weekly volunteer-taught classes in life skills, employment, community living and budgeting. Youth program participants must have an educational goal – high school diploma, GED, college or technical school – and be willing to find 10-15 hours per week of employment as well as attend the weekly sessions. Other services to clients include: auto repair, food pantry, medical assistance, dental work, GED classes, haircuts, glasses, school clothes and work uniforms among other amenities. Upon completion of the program, 95 percent of Hillcrest graduates become self-supporting and self-reliant.
Serving the Kansas City Metro Area
With the average age of a homeless person in Missouri & Kansas being 7 years old, Hillcrest Transitional Housing and its affiliates have several housing locations in the greater Kansas City Metro Area to help, including Independence, Lee’s Summit and Sugar Creek in Jackson County, and St. Joseph in Buchanan County. Transitional Housing is also available in Wyandotte (Kansas City, Kansas) and Johnson (Overland Park, Kansas) counties in Kansas. Each of the affiliates are standalone non-profit organizations operating under a common umbrella, and are supported by their local communities and a network of volunteers.
How You Can Help
From donating money to lending your time, Hillcrest has several ways for the community to get involved with helping families get back on their feet. Financial assistance, which is tax deductible, can be given by donating online at hillcresttransitionalhousing.org/donate and the organization is always accepting donations of food, such as meat, canned fruits, dairy products, baking ingredients and non-perishable breakfast items, along with household items ranging from dishes to kitchen utensils, lighting, bedding, furniture as well as cleaning and office supplies.
Time can also be given by volunteering at one of the area thrift stores, located in St. Joseph & Lee’s Summit or in the community garden, which is located at 738 N. 31st St., Kansas City, Kansas and consists of 40 raised garden beds of crops to be shared between Hillcrest clients and volunteers. Other volunteering opportunities can be found on Hillcrest’s calendar.
For more information about Hillcrest’s services or help those in need, visit hillcrestkc.org.