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ReStart-An Opportunity to Transition from Homelessness to Independence

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reStart, Inc. is a Kansas City, Missouri interfaith ministry to homeless persons. The mission of reStart Inc. is to provide shelter and supportive services to homeless men, women, youth and families with children with the goal of helping persons move toward independence and self-sufficiency. In 1984 an inter-faith group of concerned clergy and citizens from the Kansas City metro area started the non-profit corporation for the purpose of serving homeless persons.

When reStart first began providing shelter in the early 1980's, shelter residents were adult men and some women-single persons who were visible on the streets of downtown Kansas City. The number of homeless families with children has increased significantly over the past decade; families with children are among the fastest growing segments of the homeless population. Since 1996, the number of children and youth sheltered at reStart has increased by 1200%. To put these numbers in a child's perspective, consider this: In Halloween of 2002, reStart had to provide costumes for 41 children; this year, they had 90 trick or treaters.

reStart has been providing on average 80,000 bed nights of emergency and transitional shelter to approximately 2,000 homeless guests (men, women, and families) annually since 1991. During 2002, reStart welcomed 2,312 unduplicated persons as guests for a total of 75,909 nights of shelter. They are pacing significantly ahead of this in 2003.

reStart is the recipient of two supportive housing contracts from HUD, which provide space for up to 38 families at one time and an average of more than 100 families annually. One HUD contract is funded under the Kansas City Project and provides partial support for families with children in transitional housing. The housing is in a building that is annexed to reStart's main facility at 9th and Harrison in the urban core of Kansas City. Twelve families live in the facility in separate apartments on three floors. The apartments have one or two bedrooms, a bathroom, full kitchen/dining area and living room. Laundry facilities are located on each floor. Families purchase and prepare their own meals and pay their own utilities and telephone. reStart provides maintenance services, garbage removal and pays for utilities in the common spaces.

A second HUD contract supports transitional living for families with children at reStart East (formerly known as Peery House). Transitional housing is provided to families with children, headed by single mothers. This facility includes seven family rooms, a central kitchen, dining facilities and shared laundry and recreation areas. reStart provides food to allow for residents to prepare their own meals. reStart is responsible for utilities and all operating costs as well as maintenance of the building. A casemanager and other social services staff are on hand regularly. The large lot provides ample room for children to play outdoors. This contract also supports transitional housing for families with children on two floors of reStart's main facility.

reStart also operates a Family Emergency Shelter. A large percentage of the families that enter into the transitional housing programs were former residents in the Family Emergency Shelter. Most of the families sign up for both Section 8 and Public Housing before entering the Family Transitional Living Program.

The average length of stay per family is eight to ten months. However, families may stay as long as it takes for them to achieve financial stability and permanent housing, up to 24 months. Strengths-Based Case Management identifies the factors that led to families becoming homeless and utilizes families' strengths to assemble the community resources that will insure their future stability. When families leave reStart, they have the resources in place in the community to prevent them from relapsing into homelessness.

reStart's programs are comprehensive and include the following:

  • Shelter-Overnight Emergency and Family Emergency Shelter

  • Transitional Living-Room and board for up to 6 months for a maximum capacity of 75 single adults and 24 months for a maximum capacity of 43 families with children, including counseling and intensive case management.

  • Youth Services-Emergency shelter for 10 boys ages 12 - 18 and street outreach for runaway and homeless youth.

  • Economic Development-Hands-on training to help homeless people acquire jobs by providing on-site employment to current and immediate past residents.
    Supportive Services-Health care; educational assistance; chemical dependency support groups; life skills classes; housing assistance; and HIV/AIDS care.

  • Employment referrals-Employment referrals are provided through Helping Hand of Goodwill and the State of Missouri Department of Rehabilitation.
    Job counseling-On-site classes take place twice a week.

  • Health care-Twice a week health care is provided on-site through the Swope Parkway Health Center mobile team. Testing for tuberculosis is available quarterly. HIV/AIDS testing is available two times a month through the Good Samaritan Project.

  • Parenting Classes-The KCMO school district provides a facilitator for parenting education classes.

  • Substance Abuse Counseling- A full-time substance abuse counselor is available to work with individuals and families as needed.

  • Mental Health Services-Truman Behavioral Network offers assistance for individuals diagnosed with a mental health disability.

    For the most part, services are provided free; however, participants are asked to contribute a small amount based on a sliding scale. This nominal fee serves as a step toward developing the skills needed to transition to
    self-sufficiency. Transitional housing guests agree to stay sober and drug free; they also agree to work with a casemanager in setting and meeting goals toward independence.

    Each day, more than 230 people find shelter at reStart. Despite diverse backgrounds, all reStart guests share the same barriers to self-sufficiency and integration into the mainstream. They also share an opportunity to "reStart" their lives.
[Photo 1: Peery House, one of reStart's transitional living facilities for homeless families]
Residents of reStart's Transitional Housing Programs can enjoy the comforts of home at Peery House
[Photo 2: Front porch of  Peery House, one of  reStart's transitional living facilities]
Residents of reStart's Peery House can enjoy the outdoors by sitting on their front porch

 

 
Content current as of 1 October 2014   Follow this link to go  Back to top   
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