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. 

Housing Affordability in Johnson County

Safe, stable, and affordable housing is the foundation on which families build healthy and  sustainable futures. Housing also represents one of the largest expenses in a household budget, and where one lives can impact access to schools, jobs, and community resources.

Housing influences both individual and community health and well-being in significant ways. Substandard housing conditions such as water leaks, poor ventilation, dirty carpets and pest infestation can lead to mold, mites and other allergens associated with poor health. Rapidly increasing property values can displace low- and fixed-income home owners unable to keep up with property taxes. High mobility due to rising costs or evictions can cause potential disruptions in neighborhood stability, delivery of critical social services, and even a child’s progress in school.

In the past ten years, median monthly costs for all housing types have increased by 14%. Monthly costs for renters have increased at more than twice the overall rate (30%). The 2016 median gross rent for Johnson County was $1,045, with the additional housing costs of electricity, gas, water and sewer. For homeowners, median monthly housing costs are $1,677 for owners with a mortgage and $606 for owners without a mortgage (including real estate taxes, insurance, utilities and fuels, and fees).

Click here for complete Housing Affordability Fact Sheet.

UCS Releases 2018 Johnson County Point-In-Time Count Data on Homelessness

Today, UCS released its annual factsheet on homelessness.  One hundred and sixty-eight persons were identified in Johnson County’s 2018 point-in-time (PIT) count of homelessness – a sharp increase after years of decreasing overall numbers. The increased number of unsheltered individuals powered much of the almost 30% one-year rise – although all categories of housing increased somewhat. Understanding who is experiencing homelessness and their barriers to regaining permanent housing is critical in Johnson County’s work to end homelessness in 2018 and beyond.

2018 PIT results reverse the recent trend of decreasing numbers of persons identified as experiencing homelessness in Johnson County. An increasing proportion of those experiencing homelessness in Johnson County are single individuals, many of whom are unsheltered due to limited options for emergency housing.

Grant Application Meetings for 2019

Alcohol Tax Fund and Human Service Fund

UCS administers the Human Service Fund, a city-county fund that supports programs promoting economic self-reliance and personal safety, and the Alcohol Tax Fund allocation process for the jurisdictions that collect the tax, recommending funding for local organizations to support substance abuse treatment and prevention programs.

A pre-proposal meeting for 2019 Alcohol Tax Fund (ATF) grants will be held on May 17, 2018 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. at Johnson County Court Services  (588 E. Santa Fe, Room 1040, Olathe).  The 2019 ATF Request for Proposal (RFP) and application will be reviewed from 8:30 to 9:30 for non-schools, and from 9:30 to 10:30 for public school districts.  The 2019 ATF RFP and grant application will be released on May 14.  The ATF supports programs that provide alcohol and substance abuse prevention, education, detoxification, intervention, treatment and recovery in accordance with KSA §79-41a04 (as amended).  Applicants must be either recognized by the IRS under section §501(c)(3) and provide health and human services programming as their primary mission, and be in good standing in Kansas or Missouri as a nonprofit corporation; or be a program of Johnson County, Kansas Government, the 10th Judicial District Court, or a Johnson County public school district.  For 2019 ATF Funding Priorities click here.

A pre-proposal meeting for 2019 Human Service Fund (HSF) grants will be held on May 23, 2018, from 3:30-4:30 at United Community Services, 12351 W. 96th Ter., Ste. 200, Lenexa, KS. The 2019 Human Service Fund (HSF) Request for Proposal and grant application will be released on May 22.  The Human Service Fund provides grants to nonprofit agencies to support human service safety net programs that serve Johnson County residents.  For 2019 HSF Funding Priorities, click here.

Organizations not currently funded by ATF or HSF and interested in applying, should contact Marya Schott, UCS Director of Resource Allocation before submitting an application.

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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