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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
If you would like to contact the oversight committee with any feedback or thoughts, please email Jack Focht at email@example.com.
635 N. Main
Wichita, KS 67203
All persons served regardless of ability to pay. Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and self-pay based on a sliding scale accepted as forms of payment for services rendered.