Impact Avenues First Year Successes

The Impact Avenues program successfully housed 99 children and 41 families in its first year. Impact Avenues is a program that aims to significantly reduce student homelessness in our community by assisting students and their families obtain stable housing through graduation. The City of Topeka and 38 partner agencies worked together to provide wrap-around services for our homeless student population to help significantly reduce homelessness in our community. During this time the Impact Avenues program had a 98% retention rate in keeping families housed during COVID-19.

“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.”

A student is considered homeless if they lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence (i.e., living in cars, parks, public spaces, house sharing, couch surfing, living in motels or campgrounds due to the lack of adequate accommodations, living in emergency shelters, etc.). To qualify for Impact Avenues, a student has to be referred through a school liaison. Children and their families will get the support they need to obtain stable housing and assistance with overcoming barriers to success like transportation, employment, financial literacy, healthcare and others.

“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.”

Over 210 educational classes have been taken by families, which include classes offered by community partners that include Finance 101, Housing, 101, Employment 101, and Healthcare 101.

This year Impact Avenues will be taking referrals from social service agencies as well as from Topeka Public Schools in order to expand the reach of Impact Avenues and identify more children that could benefit from Impact Avenues.

“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.

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

How to help:

For more information, please go to https://www.topeka.org/impact-avenues/.

If your organization is willing to assist us in this crucial effort, please contact Impact Avenues program lead, Corrie Wright at cwright@topeka.org.

To contribute to ongoing expenses for the program, you can donate online at https://www.topekacommunityfoundation.org/Donate/ and select the “Impact Avenues Fund”, or send a check directly to the Topeka Community Foundation with “Impact Avenues Fund” in the memo line.

You can watch a video on Impact Avenues here: https://youtu.be/KWtLsCNQ7kU