Avenue of Life
Avenue of Life is on a mission to end child homelessness in Kansas City. They are mobilizing our community to equip and empower low-income individuals and families to be self-sustained and independent. Utilizing a collective impact approach, Avenue of Life seeks the commitment from different sectors with a common agenda for solving specific social problems. They partner with over 50 different organizations through the collective impact model. These partners make the Impact KCK program possible.
How it Works
Avenue’s program starts in the Wyandotte County public schools. The federal McKinney-Vento Act requires all public school districts to collect and report data on students identified as homeless under the act. These students and their families are referred to Avenue of Life, and the Impact KCK program begins. After being referred to Avenue of Life, a family will meet with a Navigator. They’ll discuss the families’ current needs, set goals with the family, and begin working to overcome obstacles preventing the family from being stably housed. This entire process can take weeks or sometimes months. Throughout the process, the Navigator works with the family to ensure they have safe housing while completing the Impact KCK program.
Factors that lead to housing instability are varied and complex. That’s why Avenue’s services must cover a wide variety of domains: housing, employment, income, food, childcare, children’s Education, adult Education, healthcare coverage, life skills, family relations, mobility, community involvement/social support, parenting skills, legal, mental health, and safety. When a family enters the Impact KCK program, it is the beginning of a long-term relationship. Navigators through Avenue of Life will continue to work with families until their youngest child graduates high school. Since 2015 they have reached over 1,400 families, housed 448, and employed 347.
Last, Avenue spends a lot of their time lifting up individual families but they want to lift up entire communities as well. That’s why they started the Equity and Justice Coalition in Wyandotte County. Their goal is to dismantle systemic barriers of inequity and injustice in the Wyandotte Community. They aim to develop a safe and healthy community through collaborative participation, empowerment, and policy advocacy.
How to Help
At Community Lending of America, we are excited to highlight this life changing organization. If you would like to help with Avenue of Life’s mission to end child homelessness in Kansas City, you can get involved by sharing your time and/or resources. They have many ways to directly volunteer with Avenue of Life or you can make a direct donation on their website www.avenueoflife.org