November 21, 2020
Hillcrest Transitional Housing is bringing awareness to the issue of homelessness in Kansas City. In honor of Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week, November 16-24, Hillcrest is offering a free prayer and action guide, conducting a social media awareness campaign, and participating in special events benefiting the organization. One such event was Hillcrest Night at Transport Brewery, 11113 Johnson Drive, on Friday, Nov. 20 from 5-8 p.m. where guests enjoyed special promotions in exchange for non-perishable food donations to Hillcrest’s food pantry.
“Hillcrest is the regional leader in solving homelessness, with the program model and results to back up that claim,” said Tom Lally, President and CEO of Hillcrest. “Our program is unique in that it works to address the root causes of a person’s homelessness, and gives them the skills they need to overcome those challenges.”
Hillcrest’s flagship program is a 90-day time frame in which clients receive rent- and utility-free housing. In exchange for that housing, clients agree to follow program guidelines, find and maintain full-time employment, attend life skills classes, participate in community living, and strictly adhere to an “all needs, no wants” budget plan while paying down debts and building up savings. Hillcrest also offers a 24-month youth transitional housing program and rapid re-housing services
“Hillcrest has story after story of families who are committed to changing their circumstances, but who just needed a little help along the way,” said Lally. “It is our great privilege to travel alongside these youth, individuals, and families willing to walk away from homelessness and become self-supporting, contributing members of our community.”
One such individual is Hillcrest graduate, “Jenni.” When Jenni first came to the organization, her past issues with addiction and incarceration were barriers to finding and maintaining a stable living environment. Hillcrest provided her a furnished apartment and a case manager to help her build the life skills she needed. During the 90-day program, she learned how to meal plan, budget her income, and developed new career goals. She started setting aside a little each month for savings, regained custody of her children, and found a higher paying job.
Today, Jenni is thriving. With the help of her budget counselor, she recently made a down payment on her own home after saving $15,000. She was even discharged from parole two years early, thanks to the work she put in reclaiming her life.
Solving homelessness in Kansas City is neither quick nor easy. Last year, Hillcrest helped 175 households transition from homelessness; and while Hillcrest boasts an 83% success rate for its clients, the organization receives far more applications for its programs each year than it is able to serve.
“We are committed to the work of solving homelessness in the Greater Kansas City area,” said Lally. “It will take time. It will take the support of donors and volunteers. It will take the long-term effort and commitment of the families we serve. However, we’re in it for the long haul – for the stability of our community and for the sake of families like Jenni’s.”
For more information on getting involved with Hillcrest or to download the free prayer and action guide in support of Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week, join Hillcrest on social media at www.facebook.com/hillcrestkc.
Hillcrest serves youth, individuals, and families throughout the greater Kansas City region through its five residential sites in Johnson and Wyandotte Counties in Kansas and Jackson County in Missouri. Hillcrest also provides rapid re-housing services in Kansas City’s Northland and in Northwest Missouri. Last year, Hillcrest assisted over 1,020 adults and youth. To learn more about Hillcrest Transitional Housing, visit www.hillcrestkc.org or call (816) 994-6934.