Community forms coalition to help with homeless crisis in North Topeka

Concerns over Topeka’s rising unsheltered population are pushing some to call for action.
Published: Jul. 17, 2023 at 10:45 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Concerns over Topeka’s rising unsheltered population are pushing some to call for action.

Members of the North Topeka community met for a meeting Monday night at Serendipity in NOTO and say the issue is getting out of hand.

Now the concerned Topeka residents have formed a coalition to solve the homeless crisis in District 2 and beyond.

“Its a call to action. Its a how do we fix it before we have a major problem. I’m from southern California so I’m very well aware of homeless situations, mental health issues all of the things that all of the communities have been facing in bigger cities for a long time we’re now starting to see more of it here. So if we take a forward positive action first and we work together I think we can come up with some good solutions,” says Business owner, Heather Graves.

Community members, business owners and elected officials Monday night referenced an array of public health and safety concerns due to encampments and the unsheltered.

District 2, Councilwoman, Christina Valdivia-Alcala says she knows firsthand the district she grew up in has been known as a red-line area that has been forgotten and often ignored.

This is something that talks about quality of life, it is health and safety, we have a low to moderate-income district here, there is bleeding out going on because of this crisis on both sides of the bridge and we also see that it is starting to impact Topeka as a whole. So I’m here and I’m in it and have been for three and a half years,” says Valdivia-Alcala.

Valdivia-Alcala also says a strong stance from residents might open the eyes of city leaders to their plight.

“What we’re seeing is that coalitions are starting to form that I definitely support and work alongside with that are saying enough is enough and they want accountability. They want transparency. They want to be part of the solution and that is being echoed towards the City of Topeka and its also being echoed toward the Topeka Rescue Mission and it’s also being echoed towards a number of social service agencies that interface with the unsheltered population,” says Valdivia-Alcala.