The Homeless Program goals are multi-pronged: develop a cohesive response to homelessness, meet the needs of the homeless population, address visible homelessness on Mainstreet by providing a place to gather away from the Main street shopping district for individuals experiencing homelessness, help return the downtown area to its intended purposes, and educate the public about homelessness.
How we work to develop solutions:
Information is updated on Facebook about the homeless program weekly. This information includes “Homeless Myth Busters,” where a myth about homelessness is addressed each week. Additionally, this part of the City website will be updated regularly with information.
Sanitation and Hygiene:
Porta-potties (5) have been delivered to three sites: one by the Shawnee Rescue Mission, one by Community Market, and three at 7th & Philadelphia. The rental will go through August 31, 2022.
Additionally, a 24’, 3-stall, shower trailer has been ordered and delivered on May 9, being placed at the Shawnee Rescue Mission. This will be staffed by interns and volunteers. The rental will go through August 31, 2022.
Furthermore, the homeless program has collaborated with Generations Church and Suds Bucket laundry to offer a laundry service. Individuals drop off laundry at the church on Wednesday, it gets taken to the laundry and returned to the individual on Friday.
Homelessness in Shawnee Roundtable: The first Homelessness in Shawnee Roundtable, comprised of organizations that serve the homeless community in Shawnee was held on March10, 2022. At the roundtable, we spoke about harnessing the collective power of our organizations to create a more efficient system for dealing with homelessness in Shawnee. We discussed what homelessness is, the causes of it, and how it affects Shawnee.
We outlined the priorities for building the Homeless Program, which include a coordinated response to homelessness, a strategically placed resource center, bathrooms & showers, street outreach, and transitional housing. Rather than each organization offering a variety of services that are often duplicated and inefficient, organizations were asked to focus on one or 2 primary services that would be more beneficial. A second Homelessness in Shawnee Roundtable met on Friday, April 22, 2022.
We also discussed homeless policies around the country and how they affect Shawnee, success stories, current projects, and next steps. Finally, we identified some holes in services and organizations were asked to consider filling them. The next Homelessness in Shawnee Roundtable meeting is scheduled for Friday, June 3. We will begin reviewing individual cases and finding solutions for their needs.
With this group, the goal is to create a united system. No matter where a person enters the homeless system (the Program Coordinator, the Police Department, a church, etc.), they will receive the same screening, and all will have the same service tree to refer people to. Partner organizations have received the intake forms with explanation about how to use them. We are also compiling a service tree to get out to each organization so we can be consistent in our efforts.
To learn more about the homeless assistance program, or schedule a meeting to discuss potential solutions, please contact Erika Genty, Homeless Assistance Coordinator, at (405) 878-1543.