The Downtown Community Services Center (DCSC), a juggernaut of care for the homeless and hungry in Downtown Kansas City, recently milestones with reStart and the Kansas City Community Kitchen at its humble home at 8th & Paseo.
reStart, the DCSC’s first tenant, is in its fifth year of providing shelter and supportive services to homeless men, women, youth and families with the goal of helping them move toward independence and self-sufficiency and ending homelessness in our community. In 2012, reStart provided support to 6,680 adults, 3,370 families and 1,367 children, and made a bold move by opening the Housing Solutions Center (HSC).
“That placed us at the forefront of a new approach to working with the homeless in our community: helping prevent at-risk families and individuals from becoming homeless in the first place, or helping to rapidly find new housing for them if they do lose their homes,” said Evie Craig, reStart executive director. “The HSC provides focused case management services for our clients to help them reach their goals.”
The Kansas City Community Kitchen, operated by Episcopal Community Services, is in its third year at the DCSC. Each weekday, hundreds of hungry people in Downtown line up and wait for the clock to strike noon. For the next two hours, the doors will be open and the Community Kitchen will serve about 600 hot meals. Some of these hungry people are homeless—most have jobs, but do not have enough to eat. They are known as the “working poor” and their population is growing.
“This facility has not only allowed us to serve more people in need, but also to do so in a way that improves health and provides hope for a better future,” said John Hornbeck, of ECS. “All of this would not have been possible without the Downtown business community.”
In the two years, the Community Kitchen served more than 310,000 hot, nutritious meals – an increase of nearly 53,000 meals or 20.4 percent over the kitchen’s previous location.
The roots of the DCSC began with the Downtown Council’s Human Services Committee nearly a decade ago.
“The committee works to ensure that human service needs of Downtown residents are met using best practices and to ensure quality of care and effectiveness of operation,” said Sean O’Byrne, DTC vice president. “An important goal of the committee is to provide a safe, accessible, full service, daytime, multi-use facility to assist the homeless community in the delivery of services Downtown.”
The Downtown Council championed the private fundraising of more than $1 million to purchase the building at 8th & Paseo in 2007 and renovate it into a beacon for the homeless, hungry and needy in Downtown.
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