Sedgwick County...working for you

COMCARE

Homelessness

402 E 2nd, Suite B  Wichita, KS 67202
(316) 660-7800

On any given night in this nation, 650,000 Americans are homeless including:

  • Working people who cannot afford housing

  • Under-employed or under-trained people

  • Those who have never worked

In Wichita, almost 400 individuals are literally homeless - living on the streets or in homeless shelters - according to the 2009 Point-In-Time Homeless Survey. Nationally, one-third of homeless individuals have a serious mental illness; locally that percentage is higher.

The Kansas Department of Children and Families has estimated that when mental health services are not available, it costs the community approximately $40,000 per year for each homeless person (including 9-1-1 service, emergency rooms, jail, etc.). With appropriate support from COMCARE’s Center City, that figure decreases.

Center City

What is Center City?

This program is managed by COMCARE and works to connect homeless individuals who suffer from mental illnesses with professionals who can help them address their illnesses.  The goal of the program is to help these individuals achieve a stable mental health status, obtain housing and become employed.

Whom does this program serve?

Center City serves individuals who have a serious mental illness and also live in places not considered adequate shelter or are receiving help through emergency shelters.

Which services are offered through this program?

Outreach - The Center City Outreach Team goes onto the streets, under bridges, and into shelters to assess mental health needs.

Mental Health Services - Center City staff members provide psychiatric care, individual and group psychotherapy, mental illness/chemical addiction counseling, employment support, peer support and intensive case management.

Transitional Housing  - COMCARE provides residents who meet certain criteria single or family accommodations for housing and services for up to two years.

Skill Building - COMCARE partners with Episcopal Social Services to provide payee services to help individuals learn budgeting skills.

How are individuals connected to Center City?
  • Homeless individuals who suffer from mental illness may visit Center City at 402 E. 2nd St., second floor in Wichita or call 660-7800.
  •  Outreach and peer support efforts help identify individuals who qualify for services.
  • COMCARE partners with many community agencies, including law enforcement, to identify individuals who may qualify for services.

Ending Chronic Homelessness

Task Force

A task force to end chronic homelessness was created in 2006 to assess and intervene in the factors that contribute to homelessness in Wichita and Sedgwick County.  They continue their assessments and provide oversight to the programs below today.

Read the task force's plan to end chronic homelessness in Wichita and Sedgwick County.

Send comments or questions to the task force. These comments will go to a county staff member assigned to the task force.

SOAR Program

The free Supplemental Security Income/Social Security Disability (SSI/SSDI) Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) program teaches case managers and others who work with homeless adults about the SSI/SSDI application process. The goal is to secure benefits for eligible individuals on the first application.

Read about the SOAR program in Sedgwick County and step-by-step instructions to apply for benefits.

Get more information about the national SOAR program.

Housing First Program

This program provides homeless individuals with apartments first, and then offers mainstream services.  This approach allows individuals to experience a stable environment while working on mental health and substance use issues.  Based upon their ability to pay, residents will pay up to 30 percent of their income.

Access the Housing First application.

Read a fact sheet about Housing First and the steps to apply.

Read a data report about Housing First as of January 2013.

Oversight Committee

One of the five strategies in the task force's plan was to create an oversight committee, with members being nominated by the city manager (Wichita) and the county manager (Sedgwick County).  These members oversee the programs put in place through the task force.  The members are:

  • Jack Focht - Chair

  • TJ Akin

  • Jean Hogan

  • Joe Rodriguez

  • Ben Grisamore

  • Janet Miller

  • Melissa Walker

If you would like to contact the oversight committee with any feedback or thoughts, please email Jack Focht at jfocht@foulston.com.