It is currently estimated that there are between 750 to 1,000 homeless students in Topeka and Shawnee County schools. Impact Avenues is a new program that has been created to assist students and their families with obtaining stable housing. The City of Topeka and our numerous partners are working together to provide wrap around services for our student population to help significantly reduce homelessness in our community.
Over the next three years, Advisors Excel will be providing up to $500,000 to support the Impact Avenues program. 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.
“No child should have to worry about where they are sleeping at night,” said Advisors Excel Co-Founder David Callanan. “Studies show social and emotional development is threatened and a child’s ability to concentrate is impacted without the stability and support a permanent home provides. When the opportunity to get involved in the Impact Avenues program presented itself, we felt strongly that we had to help tackle the issue of student homelessness in Topeka.”
About Impact Avenues:
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. “Topeka has stepped up to the plate to ensure that no student has to endure the burden and stigma that is associated with homelessness. I am proud to support this initiative and our partners who have made this possible. No issue is too big to solve when we do it together,” said Mayor De La Isla.
Families will be assigned to an Impact Avenues navigator who will assist them throughout their journey with the program. The navigator position is currently open for applications and can be found at: https://www.topeka.org/hr/current-openings/
How it started:
Impact Avenues is based on a program in Wyandotte County called Impact KCK, which was successful in reducing student homelessness by 50 percent in just a few years using collective impact – a model that removes barriers in order to accomplish goals, reduces duplication of efforts in the community, and collects data to measure success.
How to Qualify for Impact Avenues:
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 alternative adequate accommodations, living in emergency shelters, etc.). In order to qualify for Impact Avenues, a student has to be referred through a USD 501 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.
“Through Impact Avenues, together we will remove barriers for all families. Our partnership is another example of how the school district and city of Topeka are partnering to contribute to the economic prosperity of all families by addressing the homeless rate in the city. We are committed to the success of every child and we are grateful for all who helped make this partnership possible which will reduce poverty by eliminating homelessness in Topeka,” said USD 501 Superintendant Dr. Anderson.
This program would not be possible without numerous community partners that have dedicated time, resources and input throughout this process. “The collaboration between local non-profits, private sector and multiple government agencies is truly impressive. This is a perfect example of the great momentum we see in our community,” Callanan said. The City of Topeka will serve as the Backbone Agency. In addition to Advisors Excel, partners include USD 501, the Kansas Department of Children and Families, Topeka Rescue Mission, Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc., Valeo and many more agencies that have pledged to engage in this work to improve the quality of life for our students and Topekans.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.