Tucked inside a modest brick building, a small team has been working for years to help individuals in Wyandotte County who have a history of being chronically homeless. The goal of Beacon Homes, a permanent supportive housing program, is to meet people where they are. The program provides affordable housing, as well as supportive services, to help adults on their journey to independent living.
Under normal circumstances, several staff from Kim Wilson Housing and Wyandot Center work on-site at the complex to help meet the needs of residents and provide services, including case management and housing stabilization services. However, when the pandemic reached Kansas City, the program had to shut down its on-site office. They knew residents would need continued help to navigate the pandemic. They just needed to figure out how to provide support from a safe distance.
Nehemiah Rosell with Beacon Homes says the Housing Stabilization and Supportive Housing teams didn’t waste any time finding creative solutions to this challenge. The teams arranged for food pantry drop-offs from Metro Lutheran Ministry and the Supportive Housing Team volunteered to bring sack lunches for residents several times a week.
“I was really proud of our residents who were able to get all their needs met independently. They proved to themselves that they can be independent and that they are going to be ok.”
For Shelby Mabery, a Housing Stabilization Specialist with Kim Wilson Housing, the pandemic greatly changed how she worked with residents. Mabery works with residents in a number of ways, including helping them find a feeling of stability in their new housing situation and helping them keep their new home clean. Mabery wasn’t able to offer hands-on help during the pandemic, but she says she was impressed with how residents responded.
“I was really proud of our residents who were able to get all their needs met independently,” Mabery said. “They proved to themselves that they can be independent and that they are going to be ok.”
Beyond providing food and shelter, the Housing Stabilization and Supportive Housing teams also made sure they were meeting residents’ mental health needs.
Edie Harrison, Supportive Housing Manager, says she and her team were out in the community during the pandemic to check on the people they serve. They assisted with food deliveries and making sure clients had access to needed medications. Harrison says that while the pandemic led to struggles for some, it was also a time of growth for some residents in the Beacon Homes program.
“Several clients came out of this situation stronger and were empowered to do things on their own that they previously would have relied on case managers to help with,” Harrison said. “They came together and the community was stronger during the pandemic.”