homelessness

Cody Newill / KCUR

New figures from the U.S. Department of Education show that homelessness among American students has sky-rocketed by 58 percent in the past five years.

While the problem is at its worst in urban school districts the government data reveals that, for the first time, rural and suburban school districts are dealing with homelessness on a large scale. 

There are now an estimated 1.3 million homeless students in this country.

درفش کاویانی / Wikimedia-CC

Kansas City's city council turned down an ordinance regulating the distribution of food to the homeless Thursday after it was opposed by social services organizations, including the Salvation Army.

A frustrated Councilman Scott Wagner insisted throughout the debate that the ordinance he spent a year putting together was simply what it appeared to be on the surface – a matter of food safety and sanitation.

But colleague Ed Ford said the discussions that began the process may have doomed the ordinance before it was written.

A number of organizations that help feed the homeless were heard but not heeded Wednesday as a city council committee revisited an ordinance requiring setting standards for charitable food sharing.

The plan would require all individuals and organizations providing food for the homeless to have a city food sharing permit, that all food preparation areas meet city standards. The organizations would be responsible for trash disposal and other sanitation matters.

The pleas of the two dozen people who spoke against the food sharing permit ordinance were often impassioned.

Photo Credit Creative Commons

The Salvation Army of Johnson County has expanded and improved its facilities for the homeless. Their existing shelter is 60-years-old and does not meet the needs of the county, which is the fastest growing county in Kansas.

The chapter's Major Mark Martsolf says the county wanted to provide a more dignified environment while the growing number of homeless families are trying to get back on their feet. He says the new Olathe facility will upgrade broken amenities and fixtures, as well as add square footage.

Bill Krejci

At the end of each year, lots of people look back and take stock. But no one has a 2013 story to tell quite like Billy Ray Harris.

Harris went from panhandling on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Mo., to being a national media sensation after he returned a lost engagement ring that was accidentally dropped in his panhandling cup.

Inspired by Harris’s actions, people from around the world donated money to Harris to help him change his life. Now that things have calmed down a bit, Billy Ray Harris looks back on the year with gratitude and a little bafflement.

rDanie Alexande / KCUR-FM

When we first met Patricia (Trisha) Porsche, she was working her way out of homelessness for the second time. Back in February she was just several weeks into her residency at Freedom House, a transitional home for women run by the True Light Family Resource Center in Kansas City, Mo.

That residency is for only one year and for Trisha that year ends in December.  She talks with Steve Kraske about how her job search led her to a very familiar place and where she will be in 2014.

backonmyfeet.org

Exercise is generally supposed to make you feel better, but one running club effort is aiming a little bit higher. 

In the second part of Thursday's Up to Date, we take a look at how Anne Mahlum's Back On My Feet running clubs for homeless people are changing the way we look at those who live on the street and how they see themselves.

rDanie Alexande / KCUR-FM

The last time Patricia Porsche was with us we learned why she became homeless by choice.  When we left off Trish had just worked her way back to being employed and out of a women's shelter.  Today we hear the rest of her story.

Being raised to be self-sufficient, gaining the rank of Sergeant during six years of military service and maintaining employment as an experienced office worker doesn't add up to homelessness for most of us.  Before 2007 Patricia Porsche probably would have agreed with you.

Central Standard takes a close look at the most recent homeless count in Kansas City and explore the implications of these findings on these often overlooked residents of our communities.  Our guests are Vickie Riddle, Executive Director of Homeless Services Coalition, Ehren Dohler, Kansas City 100,000 Homes Campaign manager and James Ponder, a former client of Dohler's who was once homeless and now lives in an apartment.

Susan B. Wilson / KCUR

A new transitional living program opened for women this fall, built almost entirely on small contributions and the work of volunteers.  The Freedom House on 31st and Charlotte in midtown will provide a home for four homeless women who are trying to get their lives back together.  KCUR's Susan B. Wilson paid a visit in early November, when the first residents moved in. For those two women, it was their first chance in a while to be a part of a real “home."

Helping The Homeless One Ride At A Time

Dec 7, 2011

Until 1 a.m. every day, Kar Woo, a slender man with dark shoulder length hair that’s greying around his ears, drives around this brightly painted mini-van, with the Gandhi quote, “Be the Change,” printed in big red letters on the side.  He drives it between hospitals, domestic violence shelters, schools, bridges, treatment centers, and even jails, helping people who are homeless. 

Homeless' Burden Eased

Dec 30, 2010
photo by dan verbeck.

Kansas City, Mo. – For years, Downtown Kansas City businesses hated the image of the throng of homeless walking the streets. It hurt attracting conventions. It kept away commerce. Until agencies got together to take daily needs of the desperate to the area where they spent their nights.