Activist Outcry: Kansas City Needs More Homeless Shelters For Junkies

Actually, these local advocates have a point . . . There aren't a lot of places for people with severe drug problems to stay during extreme weather or as an entry point to getting more help. 

However . . . This cruel fact of life MIGHT be keeping some people alive and preventing a great many people from letting their addictions get too far out of hand. Real life consequences often inspire people to change.

Meanwhile, let's not get too preachy about this fact that think critically . . . 

No, nobody wants a bunch of dead addicts on the street . . . Then again . . . There's a delicate balance that needs to be achieved for everyone's benefit: Kansas City DOES NOT want to put itself in the same position of cities like Portland & the Bay area who have given over streets and so many resources to accommodating drug users only to have their homeless problems WORSEN.  

Here's a glimpse at the argument from activists and more info . . .

When city leaders last year drafted Zero KC, an ambitious plan to end houselessness, addressing that absence was listed as a top priority. Although it is still trying to raise funds toward that goal, the city is preparing to seek proposals from organizations to run what’s called a “low-barrier” shelter.

“We don’t even have a low-barrier shelter, so we can’t even begin to talk about what success looks like if we don’t have the basics,” said Josh Henges, the city’s houseless prevention coordinator. “The first stage of success we need to be on track is to create the infrastructure that is needed in Kansas City. We’re 10 years behind a city of our size.”
The low-barrier difference

The latest published point-in-time count by the Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness found 1,582 unhoused persons were identified in Jackson County over a 24-hour period in January 2022. Of those people, 711 were not staying in a shelter. Because the count only includes people who were surveyed, providers think the actual number of people living on the streets, in vehicles and in campsites runs much higher.

Many local shelters focus on transitional housing, a stopgap between houselessness and stable housing. Most transitional housing programs require sobriety, for example, and participation in things like job training, addiction recovery and life skills classes.

Transitional programs provide a path to long-term, stable housing, Henges said. But he said shelters that provide safe places for people without layering on too many conditions are needed, too.

Read more via link . . .

A low-barrier shelter may be in the works for Kansas City

Kansas City has plenty of shelter options, but how many of them allow someone immediate refuge from the street?