Valeo touts Mobile Access Partnership’s role in changing lives

Published: Jan. 31, 2022 at 6:22 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Valeo Behavioral Health is touting one of its newest programs as one of its most meaningful.

In the eight months since the launch of the Mobile Access Partnership (MAP), data from Valeo shows its services have had 378 unique visitors with 1,444 uses of its programs.

Those services include mobile showers with 1,137 visits and 400 laundry visits.

Stormont Vail’s new mobile primary care unit will soon be added to its services.

At Valeo’s quarterly update Monday, CEO Bill Persinger told Shawnee Co. Commissioners giving the unsheltered access to services like health care, showers and laundry gives them the bonus of humanity.

“[MAP was a] response to people’s needs who are out on the street, unsheltered don’t have a regular place to live like the rest of us do just wanted to reach out and help,” he said.

Since MAP’s launch, several other community organizations and agencies have added services, including the Topeka Police Department’s (TPD) City ID Program, the Topeka Rescue Mission’s (TRM) Mobile Kitchen and COVID-19 resources from the Shawnee Co. Health Department.

Persinger said the biggest benefits of the partnership go beyond the physical.

“I would say dignity, the feeling that they’ve been able to feel better about themselves by having access to a shower, clean clothes, food and people to talk to,” he said.

“Dignity is so hard to measure, but we’ve heard it in their individual stories, people who we met who hadn’t had a chance to take care of themselves and for some cases months and when you got a fresh set of clothes on and people on your side, like help is coming, they need a hand up not a handout.”

Persinger said community partners like the TRM, TPD and the Shawnee Co. Health Department are helping change lives.

“When you put the whole MAP partnership together in one place, on a given day with all those resources from healthcare to hygiene to referral assessments and crisis intervention,” he said.

“I don’t know of anything that exists like it.”

The original mobile shower and laundry unit was funded by the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation, Valeo’s own resources as well as some grants.

Persinger admits future funding is uncertain but said the program has proven its worth.

“It’s too integral of a part of the public safety net to let it go, it’s a priority program,” he said.

“Helping folks take care of their needs for their meals, family, social support in my estimation it’s been proven over and over again our pathway to better mental health, recovery from addiction is integral in preventing those things from happening in the first place.”

MAP’s mobile shower unit is in storage for the winter but they have partnered with the Salvation Army for shower services.

Those in need can go to their Citadel at 1320 Southeast 6th Ave. Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 am to 1:30 pm where TPD’s City ID program and TRM’S clothing supplies will also be availabhle.

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