Good Faith Network Nehemiah Assembly 2023 Johnson County

Jan. 2nd– Good Faith Network rang in the new year by hitting the ground running by conducting interviews with the experts who know about the mental health continuum, affordable housing, and experiences with the homeless.

Mental Health Committee

Throughout January, the Mental Health Research Committee met with several experts to inquire about their experiences with behavioral health and patients who come in during a mental health crisis, voluntarily and involuntarily. In our interviews with Emily Snow (Senior Administrative Director) from Children’s Mercy Hospital, Molly Kurtz (Physician’s Assistant) from Advent Health, and Lane Williams (Legal Director) from Disability Rights Center of Kansas, research committee members learned that local treatment for involuntary patients is always best. Good Faith Network believes that Johnson County should prepare to have those units ready when state regulations for involuntary mental health treatment get implemented.

Jan. 19th– We had a riveting interview with Molly Kurtz, a PA in the Emergency Room of Advent Health for the last 10 years. She told us that Last year, 4566 patients were flagged for a mental health assessment in her ER – so that’s an average of 472 patients a month. And that’s just at the main campus of Advent. Its not uncommon for them to be managing at least four involuntary patients at a time with a length of stay of 2 ½ to 3 days, waiting for a bed to open at Osawatomie State Hospital. The longest involuntary patient stay was 150 hours in the ER – that’s over 6 days! And this is the data for just one ER in Johnson County

Affordable Housing Committee

The Affordable Housing Research Team also had a busy January! Interviews with Ian Graves from Prairie Village City Council, Kristy Baughman (Executive Director) from United Community Services, and Lindsay Hicks (President & CEO) from Habitat for Humanity KC gave the research team much to think about as we advocate for an affordable housing trust fund.

Jan. 12th– In our interview with Baughman she gave a succinct response to our question of whether a regional housing trust fund or a county trust fund. She said “both.” Unsure on how much value a regional housing trust fund would have for Johnson County, she did say Johnson County would only benefit from having a local trust fund, while still participating in affordable housing on a regional level.

Ending Homelessness

This January, the Ending Homelessness Research Team has also been on a mission to find out if the county is prepared to serve the people who will be coming through the future Homeless Services Center. As we know, shelters don’t end homelessness!

Interviews with Heather McNieve (Director) and Jessa Molina (Landlord Liaison) from Johnson County Housing Services, Rita Carr (Director of Community Planning) and Kristy Baughman (Executive Director) from United Community Services, and Lindsay Hicks of Habitat for Humanity, confirmed to the committee that Johnson County does not have anywhere near the an appropriate number of affordable housing units to house individuals who are coming out of the shelter.

Jan. 9th– In our interview with Rita Carr, she let us know that not only is there not enough housing units, but there is still missing data that would greatly impact the county’s decision to supportively house individuals surviving homelessness.

Want to join in?

It’s never too late to join a research team this season! Or if you simply want a more detailed campaign update, join us for our General Research Committee meeting this Thursday Feb. 1st at 6 p.m. via Zoom!

Click here to join the research committee meeting
for THIS THURSDAY Feb. 1st @ 6pm!

Good Faith Network Answers the Call to Meet the Moment 

Jan. 12th– On the coldest week of the year, Good Faith Network received a call from County Chairman Mike Kelly asking if our member congregations would be willing to open up their doors as warming centers, so to give shelter to the homeless from the dangerously cold weather. We are proud to say that three of our congregations were able to answer the call! A big THANK YOU to Pastor Tim Suttle of Redemption Church, Pastor Sherry McGlaughlin and Neal Heckman of First Christian Church Olathe, and Pastor Cheryl Jefferson Bell of Resurrection, a United Methodist Church, who staffed the Roeland Park UMC church throughout that entire weekend. Due to their prior experience of working with this population, these churches were best equipped to become warming centers.

Opening up more warming centers for this brutally cold week was a collaborative effort between Kelly and Commissioner Janee Hanzlick. To express their gratitude, Good Faith Network received a shout-out in the County’s manager memo! Janee Hanzlick also expressed thanks herself at the following Board of County Commissioner’s meeting on Jan. 18th. Look below for the manager’s memo shout-out and the screen caps!

Good Faith Network Meets with County Commissioner, JoCo Mental Health Services 

Jan. 22nd– Good Faith Network was pleased to be able to meet with Commissioner Janee Hanzlick and explore areas of common interest. It was an energizing and productive conversation. We look forward to continue building our relationship with her as we progress in our campaigns!

Jan. 24– In the same week we met with Hanzlick, the Mental Health and Ending Homelessness steering committees also had the opportunity to sit down with Executive Director of Johnson County Mental Health Services, Tim DeWeese. The objective of this meeting was to understand DeWeese’s position on involuntary treatment and his commitment to want to seriously plan for a comprehensive strategy that will end homelessness in Johnson County. In our meeting, however, we also learned about progress on the adult crisis stabilization center and how DeWeese plans for that unit to open by spring! For those who don’t know– Good Faith Network is the one who advocated for and WON Johnson County crisis stabilization beds for adults!! This is great example on what our organization’s great, big voice can achieve!

DeWeese was also enthusiastic to continue working alongside Good Faith Network for the months to come.

What’s Next?

Network Meetings

It’s the season for network meetings! For those who haven’t participated in a network meeting– a network meeting is where all the network members of a congregation’s justice network come together, hear campaign updates, and select the names they will invite to the Nehemiah Action. In other words, it’s a great way to help network members fulfill their commitment of bringing three people with them to the Nehemiah Action!

You can expect your network meeting to take place in late February, March, or early April.

Connect with your team leader to learn more about your congregation’s upcoming network meeting.

Upcoming Interviews
Look below to see the upcoming interviews GFN will be having throughout February!
Thursday, February 1, 6:00-7:30 pm Research Committee Meeting
Monday, February 5, 10:30 am-11:45 am Molly Haase and Rennie McKinney – AdventHealth

Tuesday, February 6, 9:30 -11:15 am, Katie Killen (MARC) with reps from LISC and KCCLT
NEW! Monday, February 12, 1:00-2:00 pm, AHTF revenue sources study session
NEW! Tuesday, February 20, 3:30-5:15 pm, Magda Werkmeister – KC Tenants
NEW! Monday, February 26, 1:00-2:00 pm, AHTF governance and criteria study session

Click here to join the research committee meeting
for THIS THURSDAY Feb. 1st @ 6pm!

To learn more, visit the Good Faith Network’s Issues and Campaigns Page.

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