reStart, Inc’s Board of Directors and staff are pleased to welcome our new CEO, Stephanie Boyer who will join us on January 2nd. Stephanie brings nearly 20 years of experience improving access to services for underserved and vulnerable populations. Most recently Stephanie was a Director at ReDiscover-Kansas City Assessment and Triage Center (KC-ATC).
“We are honored and excited to have Stephanie Boyer join the reStart team as CEO. Stephanie’s drive, experience, and commitment to improving access to those who need it most deeply impressed us. With Stephanie’s leadership, reStart will continue to make progress towards our goal of ending homelessness in our community by providing no barrier services.” says Leslie Sims, Board Chair.
Stephanie holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and is a Licensed Master Social Worker. At ReDiscover, Stephanie worked with a group of community stakeholders to open the KC-ATC in order to serve adults who were struggling with behavioral health issues. Stephanie and her team at KC-ATC helped get people connected to services and start their recovery process.
Prior to her work at KC-ATC, Stephanie worked at the Kansas City Municipal Court for 10 years enhancing the specialty treatment courts, including drug court, veterans court and mental health court; the domestic violence docket; and the probation department. Throughout this work the goal was to ensure that those who needed access to treatment or services within the criminal justice system were able to be diverted as needed.
The results of the 2018 Point in Time homeless count show both good news and bad news. The good news is that youth homelessness and veteran homelessness in Jackson and Wyandotte Counties are down this year, but overall homelessness has increased slightly.
Total number of homeless individuals counted in this year’s survey, conducted Jan. 24 and 25 throughout Jackson County, MO and Wyandotte County, KS is 1,798, a 7.6% increase over the 1,671 persons counted in 2017. Total number of homeless households this year is 1,346, a 7.8% increase over 1,248 last year.
Detailed results of the 2018 Point in Time count were presented at a press conference on July 12. Evie Craig, president and CEO of reStart and chair for the Point in Time Committee, said the results “help us understand the trends occurring in Kansas City so we can better understand the scope of the problem, improve homeless system efficiency, and promote effective interventions.”
The Greater Kansas City Point in Time homeless count, a federally mandated survey, provides unduplicated counts of both sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons. The local survey was conducted with the help of more than 150 community volunteers. The data help determine the prevalence and characteristics of persons experiencing homelessness.
Communities like Kansas City that receive federal Continuum of Care dollars are required to complete the PIT count. The required information is sent to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and combined with count information from other communities and then reported to the United States Congress in order to inform policy-making and funding allocations.
Thanks to a sponsorship from Hallmark Cards, reStart was able to host our 2nd annual Advocacy Day for reStart! Residents, volunteers and staff of reStart traveled to Jefferson City April 29th, to visit the Missouri State Capitol and learn about issues affecting homelessness. They were able to meet with State Legislators and leaders from State Agencies talk about Medicaid and made visits to the Department of Mental Health and Department of Social Services.
A big thank you to Secretary of State Jason Kander, Senator Kiki Curls, Senator Ryan Silvey, Senator Jolie Justus, Senator Jason Holsman, Representative Randy Dunn, Representative Gail McCann-Beatty, Representative John Rizzo, Representative Jeremy LaFaver, Representative Brandon Ellington, Representative Judy Morgan, Representative Kevin McManus, and Representative Noel Torpey for taking their time to meet with our clients. And thank you to Senator Paul LeVota for hosting us for lunch.
Our annual ‘Warmth from the Heart’ Legislative Reception, Friday, April 25th, was a huge success! State representatives and government officials were invited to meet face-to-face with our clients who are struggling with homelessness to gain information about programs and services that are being offered, discuss proposed and pending legislation that may impact outcomes, and take some time to serve their community with hands-on volunteer work.
Big thanks to Councilwoman Melba Curls, Councilwoman Jan Marcason, Councilman Scott Wagner, Representative Randy Dunn, Representative Tom McDonald, Representative Theresa Garza Ruiz, Representative Judy Morgan, Sarah Woodward, Kendra Burgess, Matt Hasse, and Win Jamieson for serving lunch in the park on this beautiful afternoon!!
We are very excited to finally launch our volunteer management site through VolunteerMark! Volunteers now can sign up for opportunities online and receive updates and reminders of their schedule. This mobile-friendly software is exciting for us as we can now store and track volunteer data. Last year reStart had 4,214 volunteers provide 15,477 hours of service and now we will be able to maximize the volunteer experience through better communication. Sign up today!
We want to thank our many volunteers who could join us Wednesday, April 16th at the Cashew downtown Kansas City to celebrate National Volunteer Month. This time of year is when we celebrate people doing extraordinary things through service. A month where we focus on the impact and power of volunteerism and service as an integral aspect of our civic leadership, it is not only our moment in time to celebrate our volunteers, but to share ideas, practices, and stories.
“Celebrate Service” is the theme of this year’s National Volunteer Month, which is being celebrated nationwide the month of April. And nowhere is that theme more evident than at reStart, where volunteers provide the expertise, the willing hands and the dedication to provide so many services for our clients.
Outstanding Congregation – New Life Fellowship
Honorable Mention Congregation – Chapel Oaks
Outstanding Corporation – UMB
Honorable Mention Corporation – American Century Investments
Outstanding Youth Service – Tori Bass
Honorable Mention Youth Service – Bishop Miege
Volunteer of the Year – Hannah Bettis
Outstanding Holiday Hero – Tamba Hali
Honorable Mention Holiday Hero – Elizabeth Williams
reDo reStart was inspired after we gave Swiss Re a tour of our facilities and they realized how many areas needed improvement. After naming us Charity of the Year for the next three years, they have decided to focus the first year on fundraising for our Youth Emergency Shelter, along with volunteering throughout the year. We are very excited for this opportunity and are truly thankful for Swiss Re’s commitment to reStart! The below video they produced for us highlights some of our youth residents and ideas of what’s to come!
We are so proud to have a continued partnership with the HALO Foundation, a nonprofit that empowers youth through art. Through the HALO Learning Center of Kansas City, along with volunteers and amazing staff that visit each Monday, our homeless youth within our supportive programs are able to partake in their art therapy classes.
We were excited to attend their 9th Annual ArtReach Auction and learn that they raised $125,000 that will go toward providing a brighter future for homeless, at-risk, and orphaned youth! For us, the night was particularly special because they showed this powerful video featuring one of reStart’s youth resident’s, Oscar. We are thankful each day for HALO and how they empower our youth through art. Learn more at www.haloworldwide.org.
We were excited to announce late last year that Swiss Re has named us Charity of the Year—for the next three years. They will focus on helping us update our youth spaces in 2014. We recently held a focus group with current residents of the Youth Emergency Shelter to get their ideas about ways to make the shelter more homey and youth-friendly. We received great feedback and some specific requests for each room:
Kitchen – Additional storage, new table and chairs, new appliances (including our first dishwasher!), larger refrigerator, over-the-range microwave (in increase counter space), and a second sink.
Common Area – New flooring, a mounted flat-screen TV (to create more seating space), a large l-shaped couch complemented by separate lounge seating and ottomans, and laptops to replace the cramped study space, so that youth can work from any room in the shelter.
Bedrooms – Built-in under-bed drawers and personal lockers for storage, ceiling fans, throw rugs, personal cork boards and other decorations to personalize the rooms.
Bathrooms – Full-size shower doors for more privacy, under-sink storage, more mirrors and new tile that is bright and easy to clean.
Overall – The youth wanted to see calming features such as soft lighting, colorful paint, non-institutional flooring and artwork throughout.
We are thrilled to get this project moving and are so thankful that Swiss Re is partnering with us to make this happen! Stay tuned for more updates!