Every community must face an ever-changing environment and its influence on human well-being. How a community responds can be shaped by effective planning.  That’s where United Community Services of Johnson County comes in.  Through information, collaborative planning and mobilization of resources, the availability of health and human services can be enhanced to meet present and emerging needs.

Register Now for the June 13 Human Service Summit

Join UCS for the 2018 Human Service Summit, and be a part of the community conversation about what impacts our health and well-being.  This is a unique opportunity to come together with representatives from various community sectors who care deeply about Johnson County.  Our community’s economic vitality and sustainability is only as healthy as those who live and work in it.

8:30 a.m. – NOON
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center
8788 Metcalf
Overland Park, KS 66212

The morning kicks off with Dr. Marci Nielsen as the keynote speaker. A seasoned health policy expert, Dr. Nielsen has served in numerous leadership positions including former Executive Director of the Kansas Health Policy Authority, Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs at University of Kansas Medical Center, CEO and President of the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative, and Senior Vice President for Community Engagement at Kansas City University of Medicine and Bioscience.  Today, Dr. Nielsen is the President and CEO of PolicyPRN Consulting.

The Summit includes a multi-sector panel on the health equity issues that affect our region, moderated by Steve Kraske of KCUR and Kansas City Star.  During the session, attendees will participate in discussions about what creates a vibrant Johnson County and the role each sector plays in strengthening our community’s residents.

UCS has convened community members to plan and envision a strong future for more than 50 years.  Don’t miss this opportunity to share your ideas.

To register and pay online, please click here.

To register and pay by check, please click here.

Register today, seating is limited. 

Cost of Living Jumps for Johnson County and Metro Area Residents, 2014-2017

Earlier this month we saw numerous news stories highlighting the double-digit increase in property valuations for many Johnson County residents. These stories discussed the impact of increased costs for those on fixed incomes, and the challenge of finding affordable housing for first-time homebuyers.

The rising cost of housing affects the overall cost of living in Johnson County, which has grown by double digits across all household sizes in just the past four years, according to new data from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) recently released update to the Family Budget Calculator measures the income a family needs to attain a modest yet adequate standard of living.  Johnson County families are faced every day with choices about how to spend their household income. These choices are influenced by the cost of basic needs, such as housing, child care, food, and health care. Families with limited income must figure out how to meet these essential needs with inadequate resources. For example, a low-income single parent with two children earns less than 56% of what it costs to live in Johnson County; if that family is in poverty, they earn less than 28% of what it takes to meet the cost of living.

Regardless of household size, household income must be at least $16.00 per hour (full-time, year-round) to regularly sustain a household in Johnson County. Households with children need to earn the equivalent of at least $28.00 per hour to afford necessities. Employment is a key pathway to economic opportunity, but those jobs must pay adequate wages to meet the cost of living.

In Johnson County, 30% of jobs pay less than $15 an hour, which is equivalent to $31,200 for full-time year-round work and does not cover the cost of living even for a single adult. Employment projections for the area suggest that the largest employment growth through 2022 will be predominantly low-wage occupations, such as sales clerk, restaurant worker, cashier, and personal care aide. Supporting a family and getting a secure foothold in life can be challenging when job opportunities are concentrated in low wage jobs.

Johnson County has a higher cost of living than other communities in the Kansas City metro area.

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 1-year estimates 2016; Economic Policy Institute, 2014 and 2017; Mid-America Regional Council, Jobs EQ Q3 2017; U.S. Dept. of HHS, 2017

2016 Annual Report

Transitional-Age Youth Report

UCS recently released a report entitled “From Foster Care to Independence: An Assessment of Best Practices to Support Youth Who Age Out of Foster Care”. This report represents the culmination of several months of research conducted by UCS in response to the 2015 Framework for Reducing Poverty and Creating Opportunity, which calls on the human services sector to increase access to the safety net for childless adults and transitional-age youth. The report includes a system assessment, review of best practices and model programs, and recommendations for stakeholders.

Framework for Reducing Poverty and Creating Opportunity Brochure, August 2015


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