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City of Topeka announces Impact Avenues program successes

(WIBW)
Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 10:33 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The City of Topeka is announcing its Impact Avenues program’s first-year successes.

The City of Topeka says the Impact Avenue program has successfully housed 99 children and 41 families in its first year. It said the program aims to reduce student homelessness in the community by helping students and families gain stable housing through graduation.

The City said it and its 38 partner agencies work together to help provide wrap-around services for the homeless student population to help significantly reduce homelessness in Topeka. It said it has a 98% retention rate in keeping families housed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Topeka is dedicated to ensuring that no student has to endure the burden and stigma that is associated with homelessness,” said Carrie Higgins, Impact Avenues program coordinator. “I am very proud that Impact Avenues has been able to help ninety-nine children become housed, and continue to stay housed in its first year. I’m excited to continue the important work and continue to help eradicate child homelessness in our community.”

According to the City, a student is considered homeless if they do not have a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. It said to qualify for Impact Avenues, a student has to be referred through a school liaison. It said children and families get the support they need to gain stable housing and assistance with overcoming barriers to success such as transportation, employment, financial literacy and health care.

“Our superintendent partnered with Impact Avenues and Advisors Excel last year to reduce poverty and support economic prosperity in Shawnee County as part of the district’s strategic plan,” said Leslie Carr, Coordinator of Social Work for Topeka Public Schools. “As the coordinator of homeless programs and social work for Topeka Public Schools, I am proud of the positive effect Impact Avenues has had in moving families out of homelessness. The partnership between the district, the City of Topeka, and Advisors Excel has reduced homelessness for Shawnee County, and I am excited to continue supporting families in the coming year.”

The City said over 210 educational classes have been taken by families including those offered by community partners, such as Finance 101, Housing 101, Employment 101 and Healthcare 101.

According to the City, in 2020 it is taking referrals from social service agencies and Topeka Public Schools to expand the programs reach and identify more children that could benefit from it.

“We are thrilled with the first-year successes Impact Avenues has had helping give Topeka families a hand up,” said Advisors Excel Co-Founder Cody Foster. “This is an amazing partnership with 38 agencies and the City of Topeka, working together to provide families the tools and resources to get and keep them in permanent homes. We are very proud to be a part of this program, and hope to help even more families this school year,” Foster said.

The City said Advisors Excel is providing up to $500,000 to support the Impact Avenues program for the first three years. It said the Topeka Community Foundation will help administer the funding on behalf of Advisors Excel through an existing partnership to support charitable work in the Topeka community.

For more information click here.

If an organization would like to help reduce homelessness in the community, contact Impact Avenues program lead, Corrie Wright at cwright@topeka.org.

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