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Pittsburg's only homeless shelter closing July 15 - KOAM TV 7

Pittsburg's only homeless shelter closing July 15

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Updated July 2, 2014 Press Release from SEK-CAP: Effective at 4:30 p.m. on July 15, 2014, Southeast Kansas Community Action Program (SEK-CAP) will close their C.H.O.I.C.E.S. Family Emergency Shelter in Pittsburg, Kansas. Officials recently announced the closure to their seven shelter employees and nine families in residence, including 26 children and adults. Other families have applications in progress to move into the shelter immediately. On average, the shelter is home to around 350 people each year, the majority of whom are children.

“It’s hard to watch as dedicated employees lose their jobs,” said Steve Lohr, SEK-CAP’s Executive Director, “and it’s infuriating to see this regions capacity and infrastructure be dismantled by poor choices being made in Topeka.”

The shelter closure results from a decision by the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC) to change the way it allocates Community Services Block Grant funding statewide. The effect for SEK-CAP is a nearly $500,000 shortfall, and part of that funding was used to help operate the shelter.

The City of Pittsburg applied for the full funding needed to operate the shelter through the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), also managed by KHRC. After learning that their application was awarded at only 38% of the request, the City of Pittsburg and SEK-CAP jointly decided that they could not enter into agreements without the additional CSBG funds.

SEK-CAP will continue working to address the issue of homelessness by convening a Homeless Advisory Board of community stakeholders and concerned citizens. Anybody interested in participating may contact Dick Horton at dickhorton@sek-cap.com. Another opportunity to address the impact of this loss of CSBG funding is at a public hearing in the offices of KHRC on Tuesday, July 15th, at 2:30 p.m., where all public comments will be heard and recorded. As well, written comments can be submitted to J.G. Sexson, CSBG Program Manager, Kansas Housing Resources Corporation, 611 S. Kansas Avenue, Suite 300, Topeka, KS 66602-3803.




Updated March 11, 2014: Emergency funds could save a homeless shelter in Pittsburg from closing it's doors.

The City of Pittsburg will submit an additional funding request to the Kansas Housing Resource Corporation on SEK-CAP's behalf.

Commissioners approved the request at Tuesday night's commissioners meeting.

The funding would total around $60,000 and keep the Choices Shelter open until new funding is handed out for fiscal year 2015.

At one point the shelter had 50 residents, more than half were children.

The shelter is scheduled to close at the end of March.

If the grant is approved, SEK-CAP will use the month of April to make repairs then reopen the beginning of May.


Updated February 19, 2014: Effective immediately, SEK-CAP will no longer accept applicants for housing at the C.H.O.I.C.E.S. Family Emergency Shelter in Pittsburg. The closure will take effect March 31, 2014.

A grant that funded the shelter has been cut in half by the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation.

SEK-CAP Executive Director, Steve Lohr, said, "We continue to work with the families to find permanent housing, and we must provide our employees with adequate notice that their jobs will end."

Sean Ozbun has worked at the shelter for eight years.

"I was meant to do this so I was excited to have the opportunity to make an impact," said Ozbun.

When primary funding ends the shelter will close and SEK-CAP will spend several weeks cleaning and refurbishing the building.

SEK-CAP request that all non-monetary donations be temporarily directed to other social service, faith-based, or community organizations.

Financial donations for the shelter will be accepted and used to provide on-going homeless services.


Posted January 20, 2014 7:18: Pittsburg's only homeless shelter, C.H.O.I.C.E.S could soon lose funding, causing the shelter to close it's doors.. 

Southeast Kansas Community Action Program operates the shelter, which currently serves 300 to 400 people each year. Officials with the program say if funding is cut by the Kansas Housing Resource Corporation, they would have no choice but to close.

 

Robert Park and his family have called the emergency shelter home since Thanksgiving. 

"I thank god this shelter is here for us I really do I don't know what we would do without this place," said Park.  

Families in need can spend up to 90 days at the shelter. The only requirement is you have to have a child under the age of 18. And you have to present valid identification. 

Right now 50 people are living at the shelter, 32 of them are children. 

"It's just kind of tears me up a little bit because if it wasn't for us many of these families wouldn't have any place to go," said shelter manager Jami Crowder.  

SEK-CAP claims the Kansas Housing Resource Corporation gives funding to the shelter through a community service block grant. Their portion of the grant has now been cut in half.  

"400,000 that have historically come to Southeast Kansas will not be going elsewhere in the state," said Crowder.

If the funding is cut, SEK-CAP says Park and others will have to return to the streets. 

"People have hard times they fall on hard times and when you don't have family and friends to look to who do you look to," said Park

Funding will last until the end of March. SEK-CAP is working with community members to find a solution.   

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