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County commission approves case manager position for homeless outreach services

The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners today authorized the Mental Health Center to accept an emergency solutions grant to fund a new full-time case manager position to provide homeless outreach services.

The Mental Health Center’s new case manager will work to identify individuals in Johnson County who are part of the unsheltered homeless population. The emergency solutions grant, awarded by the Johnson County Human Services Department, will provide funds to enhance the current homeless outreach efforts of the Mental Health Center’s Recovery Support Team.

“We currently provide case management services to individuals and families, but many in the homeless population are difficult to contact because they have no permanent residence or telephone,” said Mental Health Center Director Tim DeWeese. “This new case manager position and grant funding will allow our staff to provide outreach and support to better serve the county’s vulnerable populations.”

The case manager position will be funded with a portion of the $99,000 grant as well as fee-for-service revenue generated by the position. Remaining grant funds will be used for capital purchases in support of the position as well as transportation and emergency medical services for homeless clients. No county tax support was requested to fund the position.

“Community-based services provide local children and adults the resources they need to live within the community,” DeWeese said. “Our goal in offering these services is to prevent residents from entering state hospitals, psychiatric facilities, jails and emergency rooms. These resources ensure clients receive the psychiatric treatment needed and assists them in accessing jobs, multi-service centers, healthcare, permanent housing and other services.”

The Mental Health Center established performance measures to track the success of the new homeless outreach position:

  • Percent of clients with more than 90 days in shelter exit to permanent destinations;
  • Percent of clients with more than 90 days in shelter exit to destinations other than homelessness;
  • Percent of clients that access essential services.

The Mental Health Center has set 75 percent as the target for each of the performance measures. The grant period runs May 1, 2018, through Aug. 31, 2019, after which time the position will be funded through other grant opportunities.