June 16, 2017

UCS' Navigating the Future Event Sold Out Attendance Showcased the Importance of Planning for a Healthy Future

More than 200 professionals from across various community sectors including business, public safety, education, human services, government, faith community and funders gathered at the new Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center to discuss health and human service challenges and opportunities facing Johnson County residents and the importance of cross sector collaboration to address these challenges.

As UCS celebrate its 50th Anniversary, the organization determined to use its annual Human Service Summit this year as a component of UCS' current strategic planning process which is being supported through a grant from the REACH Healthcare Foundation.  Johnson County Government was a partnering sponsor for the event along with Fred and Carol Logan and Maury L. Thompson, longtime UCS supporters.

The morning began with community data and trends provided by UCS staff and moved into a panel discussion with area leaders representing key community sectors moderated by Steve Kraske of KCUR and The Kansas City Star. Panelists included:  Laurie Minard, Vice President of HR, Garmin International; Dr. Patricia All, Interim Superintendent, Olathe School District; Brent Stewart, CEO, United Way of Greater Kansas City; Pastor Gary Schmitz, Founder, Caring For Kids Network; and Ken Williams, CEO, Catholic Charities.

The audience then participated in a moderated discussion identifying key challenges facing Johnson County and what a cross sector response to these challenges could look like.  The results of this community conversation will be used to inform UCS' strategic plan as the organization moves forward.

The event concluded with a panel of elected leaders sharing the growing role local government plays in addressing health and human service needs moderated by Elizabeth Alex, Public Relations and Outreach Manager, Kansas City University of Medicine and Bioscience.  Panelists included:  Chairman Ed Eilert, Johnson County Board of County Commissioners; Mayor Mike Copeland, Olathe; Mayor Ken Sissom, Merriam.
A full report and event materials will be available on UCS' website in the coming weeks.

UCS Releases Annual Homelessness 
Point-In-Time (PIT) Count for 2017

Recently, UCS released its fact sheet on the 2017 PIT.The number and characteristics of persons identified in Johnson County's 2017 point-in-time count of homelessness suggests both progress and regress. Overall PIT homelessness numbers dropped to the lowest level since before the recession, with children making up slightly less than half the total number. That's progress. However, the number of unsheltered individuals and the number of chronically homeless was sharply up - in part due to Johnson County's lack of a walk-in emergency shelter and limited resources for individuals in crisis (vs shelter for households with children). Addressing these challenges is critical in Johnson County's work to end homelessness in 2017 and beyond.

The median age of a person experiencing homelessness in Johnson County in 2017 was 19 years.

74% or three in four persons identified as homeless in the 2017 point-in-time count were in households with children under 18 years of age. No unaccompanied youth were identified and no children under 18 were counted as unsheltered.

The Importance of Affordable Housing in Johnson County

This week, UCS released itsfact sheet on Affordable Housing in Johnson County. Stable and affordable housing is the foundation on which families can build a healthy, sustainable future. The cost of housing can influence the type of community in which a family lives, the schools and jobs they are able to access, and the overall stability of the family unit. Because housing is one of the largest expenses for any household, the cost can determine how much money is left to meet other household needs. When it comes to housing costs, Johnson County is one of the most expensive communities in the Kansas City region.
Data from the U.C. Census Bureau indicates that the cost of all housing in Johnson County has increased by nearly 10% over the last decade. Renters alone have seen an even sharper increase of 28% since 2005, with a median gross rent of $978 in 2015.

Make A Donation: Giving to honor our past and prepare for our future is a great way to help us celebrate 50 years and those who have served our community through UCS.  We are happy to offer this easy online giving option.
Our mission: Provide data analysis, lead collaborative planning and mobilize resources to enhance the availability and delivery of health and human services.
Contact us at 913-438-4764 or www.ucsjoco.org

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