By Kevin Collison
The Downtown Council is continuing its outreach to the homeless population with plans to hire a social worker and find a new social services agency for its community center at Seventh and Paseo.
Sean O’Byrne, vice president of the business and property owner group, reported recently the staff of the Downtown Community Improvement District has seen a growing number of homeless people in downtown parks.
With cold weather returning, the Downtown Council plans to hire a street outreach person with a masters degree in social work or similar credentials to help the CID staff steer homeless people to services.
“We want this person to help us with street outreach to help people get off the streets and into housing,” O’Byrne said.
The Downtown Council also is seeking a new social service agency for its Downtown Community Services Center at 750 Paseo Blvd.
Earlier this year, reStart, the previous agency serving the homeless at the center, moved out as part of a cost-saving measure. ReStart consolidated its operations at 918 E. Ninth St.
The Downtown Council acquired and renovated the community services building about 10 years ago at a cost of $1.3 million.
The lower level continues to be occupied by NourishKC, a kitchen and dining room that serves the homeless. Last year, the charity associated with Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, served its millionth meal to the homeless.
O’Byrne said he’d like to find a complementary social service agency to occupy the 4,100 square-foot space formerly occupied by ReStart. The space already includes counseling offices, meeting rooms and a couple of showers.
“We’d like to have a human service provider, either in housing, counseling or veterans services,” O’Byrne said. “It would be great if there was a symbiotic relationship with the kitchen down there.”
The Downtown Council has been discussing its plan at meetings of social service agencies, and also has plans to hire a real estate broker to help its search.
O’Byrne said his organization is prepared to offer the space at an inexpensive rate, about $9 per square foot.
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