How the Kansas City Public Library Is Helping the Homeless
Happy Thanksgiving! Today I am thankful for my home and all the helping hands over the years whose generosity has kept me housed. I am fortunate to have friends and family who have given Carly and I jobs, cash, and food over the years when times got rough. Not everyone is so fortunate.
Over the past couple of weeks my email to you has focused on the causes of homelessness, and the misconceptions that perpetuate homelessness in our society. Today, I'm sharing with you the amazing work that is being done all over our great city to support people who are experiencing homelessness, and how you can get involved.
We've explored how you can support Trinity UMC's Community Meals and Pantry, but what's outside the building?
I have been surprised to discover that the Kansas City Public Library is a huge support not only to individuals who struggle with homelessness but also to the organizations that provide services to our homeless neighbors. This morning I attended Coffee and Conversations at the Central Library downtown. This monthly meeting brings together service providers and homeless neighbors for connection building. I met many folks who are doing great things. Listed below is information about a few different organizations and how you can get involved.
Coffee & Conversations Third Wednesdays, 10:30-11:30am @ Central Library downtown, third floor. Snacks and coffee provided. Library staff, homeless customers, and customers interested in social justice get together to hear from speakers about social inclusion.
Greater KC Coalition to End Homelessness Membership Meeting Third Wednesdays, 9:15-10:30am @ Central Library downtown, fifth floor. Concerned citizens and social service agencies come together to learn about the exciting work being done by community leaders.
Neighbor2Neighbor Operating out of Mount Washington Missionary Baptist Church, Neighbor2Neighbor addresses the causes of homelessness by providing meals, clothing, hygiene products, drug treatment referrals, and access to a social worker. This group is always in need of men's clothing. They try to provide 3-5 days worth of clothes to their clients as they connect them with jobs, drug treatment, and housing. If you have men's clothing you can donate, call Greg Parr at 816-606-4509 to schedule a drop-off time. They are also always looking for volunteers to serve and prepare breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday.
NourishKC Culinary Cornerstones Explorer Training Program This six-week program provides paid job training in the food service industry. It is meant to let people "try on" food service work to see if they are good at it. The program is open to everyone, but unemployed or underemployed people are especially encouraged to apply.
Habitat for Humanity Did you know Habitat for Humanity provides financial planning services and home preservation services in addition to their Home Ownership program? Anyone can access their Hope program to become financially literate and eventually qualify for a mortgage. If you already own a home but the maintenance is adding up and you can't afford it, the Home Preservation Program might be able to help, depending on income guidelines. They handle minor repairs, critical repairs, and weatherization.
Job Club Second Chance Risk Education Center provides a Job Club at the Bluford Branch of the Library. People transitioning out of incarceration can attend Job Club to find out which businesses are felon-friendly, and get technology assistance to create an email address, fill out job applications, or create a resume.
Outreach Services of Swope Health Services Provides medical services, behavioral services, and substance use services to individuals and families who are homeless. They even have a mobile health clinic!
These are just a few of the many groups whose compassion and generosity is building a better future for our city. If you ever encounter someone who needs help, you can call the KC Public Library! They provided me with a list of Emergency Services, which I have scanned for you to print out for yourself. I will also have copies available in worship on Sunday. Click here to download that pamphlet.