City of Wichita plans to use millions of dollars in federal funding to address homelessness

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – The city of Wichita plans to use $1 million in federal funding to develop a project to house homeless people.

In April, the city hired a consulting firm to get input from local stakeholders, including Wichita citizens. The city also met with local nonprofits, including Breakthrough Episcopal Social Services, which helps lift people out of poverty by providing comprehensive services such as case management and peer support.

The Breakthrough Clubhouse at the corner of 9th and Main in downtown Wichita is where some homeless people gather for services and support.

“I’ve been a member since about 2010. So with Breakthrough it’s helped me as far as my mentorship,” said Kito Crawford-Blunk, among thousands of homeless Wichitans.

In a similar situation, Terry Tabor credits Breakthrough Episcopal Services for helping him find a part-time job.

Breakthrough Episcopal Services was among 20 local organizations that provided input for a city project aimed at addressing homelessness.

“The idea of ​​being physically together and not having to go back and forth because transportation is a barrier, energy and time are a barrier,” said Alleshia Benward, program director of Breakthrough Episcopal Social. Services. “So just being able to make things simpler for the people who serve is really exciting.”

The city of Wichita plans to use $5.5 million in federal U.S. bailout funds to provide housing services and shelter.

“I’m proud that Wichita is stepping up and helping homeless people like us,” said Wichitan John Wasielewski.

The city’s proposal would use the $5.5 million to create a project that would include a shelter with private rooms, affordable housing and a navigation center to coordinate support services.

“We have a lot of services that we need. We just need to build capacity and we need to collaborate better,” said Any Houltberg, CEO of Breakthrough Episcopal Social Services. “If a one-stop shop or a place where we could all work together to help people seamlessly, I think that’s a win for the city for sure.”

The City of Wichita said it wants to find a developer, contractor and management partner to operate the affordable housing and non-congregate shelter. But the city plans to operate the navigation center.

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