Friday, May 30, 2014

Am I missing something?

By CEO/Executive Director Laura Gray
The Missouri Budget Project reported at the conclusion of the legislative session: “Moreover, lawmakers failed to take advantage of the opportunity to expand eligibility for Medicaid. Not only did the proposal have broad bipartisan support, it carried with it the strong support of diverse interests. Chambers of Commerce throughout the state, hospitals, health providers, health advocates and consumers came together to support expansion, which would provide at least 267,000 Missourians with access to health care, boost Missouri’s economy with an influx of federal funds, and reduce existing costs to state general revenue – strengthening the entire state budget as a result.”
Opponents stated that Missouri cannot afford the cost of expanding coverage. The Missouri Budget Project estimates that, because the federal government would pick up many costs, expanding Medicaid would save Missouri $140M in fiscal 2016 and 2017 and $30M per year thereafter.
Because Medicaid wasn’t expanded, the parents in our fragile homeless families have no insurance coverage unless they get it from an employer or meet the current criteria for Medicaid. However, an adult in a household of three has to have less than $307 per month in income to receive Medicaid under the existing criteria. That means they will use the emergency room for primary care. Hospitals will have to eat the cost of emergency care and adults won’t get routine medical care. It also means that an untreated illness has the potential to cause them to lose a job and again be at risk for homelessness.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Intake Matters: What a family leaves behind

By Intake and Resident Specialist Holly Gardner
This month I have been particularly busy doing walk through’s of apartments after a family moves out. Part of my job duty as an intake and resident specialist is to assess what the apartment needs will be for maintenance and cleaning, then I estimate the time frame and planning for the new family. 
Most of the time the family moves out gracefully, with minor damages.  Sometimes, if they won’t need these items in their new place they leave dishes, clean bedding and other things behind as a gift for the new family moving in.
I have noticed a direct correlation between the condition of the apartment when they move out and the family’s participation in the program.  It is no surprise to me when I see a family thrive here and want to share what they can with the new families coming in.  It is always refreshing to do the walk through when a family has left such a nice mark on us, the property and especially the new families moving in to the space.
Most of the time I can measure fairly well how to clean up a unit after a family departs, I can see that mini blinds get replaced, painting is done and a stove gets a deep cleaning, but I can’t always see or measure what that family was able to take in and or what that family will take with them when they leave us and continue on their housing and self-sufficiency journey. But when departing family’s with their own stresses and concerns are thoughtful enough to share their small bounty with another family I know that this is a kind gesture, a true welcome and it won’t go to waste. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Children Matter: "A place to call my own"

By Child Therapist Tonesia Woods

Sherri is a 12-year old child in a family of four who relocated to Community LINC after moving from various homes within the past year. 

During her final counseling session, I asked “What is one thing that you desire in life?” She stated “ I just want to be in a stable home, in a place that I can call my own. I don’t want to move anymore…” During that final session we worked on saying good-bye, seeking peace with her current transition, and learning to recognize the good in all things. 

She quickly identified “friendships” as her highlight of moving to different places. She was also able to identify the good in her hardships by stating to me “ The hard times I go thru with my family, actually brings us closer together!”  

While she was at Community LINC, I quickly observed the gift of resiliency that the client possessed! She always participated in group, displayed leadership behaviors while in programming, and maintained a positive attitude throughout her time here at Community LINC.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Employment Matters: "It Takes More Than A Textbook"

By Employment Services Job Coach Constance Taylor

It really means a lot when people care enough to take time from their busy schedules to help our participants become gainfully employed.

Understanding what employers need and want is a big part of landing a job. 

Several businesses in the Kansas City area volunteered to positively influence our community by participating in mock interviews. They asked interview questions concerning various positions within their organizations and critiqued our responses. They also provided answers to difficult questions concerning the candidates and how they ought to market themselves.

The employers provided an overall summary of “great interviewing skills.”  The information they provided was valuable to our participants and gave them real life applications.

One of the employers scheduled additional interviews with other human resource representatives at his company. As a result, two of our candidates have secured full time employment with benefits! They both start their new positions this week. 

That’s why I believe, “it takes more than a textbook.” Sometimes, it takes real life application to make a lasting impression.      

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Children Matter: The Gift of Reading

By Children’s Program Director Ryan Blake

Often when children move into Community LINC they don’t have very many possessions of their own, including books to read.

Providing children with books in their home is a key component for them learning to read and developing a love for reading.  

Through generous donations and book drives, Community LINC was able to start a “free library”.  The library gives children the opportunity to pick out as many books as they want to take home and keep. 

Over the two years, we have given away over 1,300 books to children in our program.  

Providing children with books gives me an opportunity to talk with parents about reading with their children.   It also gives me a chance to work one on one with struggling readers. The books also serve as an incentive for our children to come to program classes and tutoring.  

All of the kids know that at the end of the class night they can pick out a book or two to take home with them. 

However, lately we have been slowly running out of books. That being said, any donations of new or gently used books for children and teens are greatly appreciated!