402 E 2nd, Suite B Wichita, KS 67202
According to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty there are 1,750,000 Americans homeless annually including:
- Those experiencing mental illness
- Working people living in poverty who cannot afford housing
- Under-employed or under-trained people
- Men, women and children of all ages
In a 2014 national snapshot of homelessness taken one day in January, the Department of Housing and Urban Development counted more than 600,000 individuals. Locally, the snapshot of homelessness for Wichita/Sedgwick County’s annual point in time reflected more than 600 individuals and families are literally homeless, living on the streets, in homeless shelters or transitional “temporary” housing. Nationally, one-third of homeless individuals have a serious mental illness; locally that percentage is higher.
What is Center City?
The Center City homeless program is managed by COMCARE and connects individuals who have been diagnosed with a mental illness and who are experiencing homelessness with professionals who can help them manage their recovery. The goal of the program is to help these individuals achieve mental health stability, obtain housing, and become employed so their overall quality of life is improved.
Whom does this program serve?
Center City serves individuals who have a serious mental illness and have lived 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 and connect individuals with mental health needs to appropriate services.
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.
Permanent Housing - COMCARE works with individuals experiencing homelessness, and severe and persistent mental illness, helping them to access permanent housing and mental health services. Center City operates three permanent housing programs for persons with a severe and persistent mental illness and chronic homeless histories. Center City also provides mental health services while helping consumers access other permanent housing options such as Shelter Plus Care, Section 8 and Housing First.
How are individuals connected to Center City?
- Homeless individuals who have mental health needs and are experiencing homelessness may visit Center City at 402 E. 2nd St., second floor in Wichita or call 660-7800.
- Outreach efforts help identify individuals who qualify for services and connect them to Outpatient and/or Community Based Services providers.
- COMCARE partners with many community agencies, including law enforcement, to identify individuals who may qualify for mental health services.
Ending Chronic Homelessness
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.
Send comments or questions to the task force. These comments will go to a county staff member assigned to the task force.
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.
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.
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 oversaw the programs put in place through the task force. The members were:
- Jack Focht - Chair
- TJ Akin
- Jean Hogan
- Joe Rodriguez
- Ben Grisamore
- Janet Miller
- Melissa Walker