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Pittsburg Grant to Help Homeless - KOAM TV 7

Pittsburg Grant to Help Homeless

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS -

The Pittsburg City Commission has officially accepted a large Emergency Solutions grant on behalf of Wesley House and Pittsburg's Catholic Charities extension.

The money will be put to use almost immediately for people like James Radlund. Who not long ago was living on the streets.

"I was an addict, ended up getting divorced, I had a bad relapse, got back in with the wrong people and lost my jobs," Radlund said.

He's clean now, thanks in large part to the people at Wesley House.

"They helped me get back on my feet a little bit," Radlund said. "They got me a job. They helped me with food."

"We meet people exactly where they are. Not where we want them or where we think they should be. It's exactly where they are and how can we address those needs," said Marcee Binder.

She says there are plenty of people like Radlund in Pittsburg. And hopes Wesley house can do more for them. Now, a roughly $137,000 grant will help it, and Catholic Charities, do so.

The emergency solutions grant will pay for a homelessness prevention program, a rapid rehousing program for "true" homeless, as well as the hire of a part time homeless case worker.

"So these will be our folks that need more help," Catholic Charities Johanna Winter said. "The focus will be getting them housed or keeping them housed if it's homeless prevention."

The most beneficial project may be the removal of an outdoor storm shelter so Wesley House can expand to add an emergency day shelter. C.H.O.I.C.E.S. ran an emergency shelter for families. But it closed last year. Currently there are no programs for temporary housing or shelter in Pittsburg.

"Our homeless population is extraordinary and we want to provide that next step," Binder said. 

"If you don't have organizations like this, you're gonna have hundreds of people out there on the street not having anywhere to go," Radlund said. "And I hope organizations like this can keep growing, keep building."

Construction of the day shelter could begin as early as next week.

The homeless case manager begins on September 1st.

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