Knights of Columbus grant to support short-term winter housing for those experiencing homelessness 

A $2,500 grant from the Knights of Columbus Endowment Fund through the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas will support efforts to protect vulnerable, unsheltered individuals by providing temporary hotel rooms during dangerous winter conditions. This support can significantly impact the health and well-being of individuals with health conditions or young children.  

Building Health Inc. (BHI), a subsidiary of the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, received the grant from the endowment fund. The Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas hosts individual charitable funds created by donors who have a passion for giving back to their community. Grants from these funds assist people throughout Southeast Kansas and beyond. Call the Foundation at 620-231-8897 with questions about the Community Foundation. 

The grant is intended to help bridge the gap in housing services for people with low income, disabilities, or advanced age. The housing gap exists between the time a person seeks services to exit homelessness and the time they obtain housing. Housing gaps occur because of a lack of resources, including lack of accessible housing which can leave the person in a gap lasting up to a year leaving them unsheltered or living in unsafe conditions.    

The funding will provide two interventions to address this housing gap: overnight hotel stays (if such hotel stay supports the participant’s efforts to achieve their housing plan successfully) and transportation supports (if such support helps the participant reach a destination that will provide long-term housing or keep them safe as they reside in their vehicle). 

“Sleep has an immense impact on our overall health and mental outlook, and these funds will help us ensure that the most vulnerable of our population can sleep safely during inclement weather,” BHI Director Becky Gray said. “To quote neuroscientist Matthew Walker, ‘The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep’.” 

Overnight hotel stays will be provided when the participant faces dangerous weather conditions for outdoor living or adverse health conditions that will worsen by lack of shelter, and the payment will be made directly to the lodging business. Transportation support could be in the form of a bus ticket (if the case manager identifies appropriate housing in the destination location) or gasoline (if a full fuel tank is the only barrier to physically getting to available housing), and the payment will be made directly to the transit provider or filling station.  

Very few state and federal funds are available for hotel stays or transportation expenses. In some instances, HUD has a few funding streams that consider transportation an allowable expense, but the amount available in this rural region is minimal and is used up quickly. 

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