Jamie Van Leeuwen, senior policy advisor to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, offers a briefing on Denver’s Road Home program aimed at addressing chronic homelessness in the Mile High City, on Friday, November 18, 2011 at 8 a.m. at the Kansas City Public Library, 14 W. 10th St. Kansas City Mayor Sly James introduces the session and delivers opening remarks.
The presentation spotlights the recently issued Homeward Bound: Greater Kansas City Housing Sustainability Plan prepared by the Greater Kansas City Homelessness Task Force that seeks a fresh approach to reducing homelessness in the five-county metropolitan area.
Van Leeuwen was formerly head of Denver’s Road Home, the city’s 10-year plan to end homelessness. Under his direction, the initiaitve generated more than $50 million in new resources for the homeless, developed more than 2,000 new units of affordable housing, and prevented more than 3,500 families from becoming homeless. Denver’s Road Home also reduced chronic homelessness by 70 percent and was recognized by HUD as one of the top six homeless programs in the country.
Homeward Bound: Greater Kansas City Housing Sustainability Plan asserts that homelessness in Kansas City is preventable, solvable and unacceptable. The report cites a growing shortage of affordable rental housing and a simultaneous decrease in income as being primarily responsible for the rise in homelessness over the past 30 years, and endorses a policy best summed up as Housing First.
The plan is the result of months of research and collaboration. The Kansas City, Mo., City Council created the task force two years ago. It was later broadened to include membership from Clay, Jackson and Platte counties in Missouri, and Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas. To review Homeward Bound — either the executive summary or the complete report — visit www.kcmo.org/htf .