COMMUNITY CHANGE, ONE PERSON AT A TIME
JUNE 2023 NEWSLETTER
As a proactive response to complications resulting from the pandemic, Mobile Access Partnership (MAP) was born. As pandemic regulations forced shelters to decrease bed capacity - along with the costs of housing, food, transportation and daily living skyrocketing - homelessness began to exponentially increase for many in our community. Thankfully, compassionate partnerships came together to discover and implement a daring, innovative, and now nationally recognized response to the growing crisis for individuals experiencing homelessness in Topeka and Shawnee County.
Now entering its third year, MAP has not only provided much needed services such as warm showers, clean clothing, nutritious meals, basic supplies, phones, medical help for both people and their pets, case management services, mental health and addiction interventions, but has also provided a unique opportunity for our neighbors experiencing homelessness to be seen, heard, and shown they are valued.
Today MAP has profoundly touched the lives of hundreds of our struggling neighbors, both sheltered and unsheltered, and brought our agency partners and volunteers closer than ever before. As we work side by side every week of the year to ensure we bring hope to those who may have forgotten hope could ever exist, positive change for our neighbors experiencing homelessness continues to improve.
We asked our agency partners to summarize their experience with MAP over the past two years and their hopes for MAP going forward:
“Valeo Behavioral Health Care is humbled and honored to serve alongside so many outstanding partners in making MAP a successful reality for our unsheltered and precariously-housed neighbors. MAP’s capacity to reach individuals who are most at risk is unique and has become part of the culture of helping here in Topeka, shaping how our community will pro-actively address all the issues related to homelessness. We know that MAP has saved lives, inspired individuals and groups to action, and that its foundational principles will guide policymaking and programming for our most vulnerable citizens as the near future comes upon us; a legacy that will last for decades.”
- Bill D. Persinger, Jr., Chief Executive Officer Valeo Behavioral Health Care
“Stormont Vail Health’s Mobile Primary Care Clinic rolled onto the scene in February of 2023. We immediately pulled up alongside the other MAP units one day per week to provide healthcare to individuals experiencing homelessness. Our Mobile Clinic team really enjoys MAP days and steered us to join MAP deployments on both Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning last fall. Stormont Vail Health believes the MAP Partnership is a great way to address upstream social determinants of health in a consistent and compassionate manner. Thank you to all of our MAP partners, we look forward to continued success on the road!”
- Karla Hedquist, Director Community Health Engagement
“The Street Dog Coalition Topeka team has worked in direct correlation with TRM and Valeo since our inception, so it was natural to be a part of MAP too. We hope that our clients come for the pet care, but then stay for the other services. It makes sense to meet the needs of the whole family in one place. Partnering with MAP is the perfect way to fulfill our mission of caring for the lives on both ends of the leash.”
- Dr. Allison Crow, Director Street Dog Coalition Topeka
“As the CEO of Compassion Strategies, the organization that oversees MAP, I see the expression of love delivered through the many services of our partner agencies working together. MAP offers the opportunity for engagement, the opportunity to gather and have a sense of community, and for our unsheltered neighbors to understand their value and see the people who care about them. The innovative response to increased homelessness and human suffering in our community through the dedication our MAP partner agencies and volunteers is nothing short of amazing!”
- Barry Feaker, Executive Director Emeritus TRM, CEO Compassion Strategies Inc
“While at MAP, our neighbors receive 2 hot meals, clothing, access to shower facilities, medical services, support for their furry friends, and so much more. Our case managers have the opportunity to build relationships and community. I think the thing that has impacted me the most in witnessing our friends access services is seeing them start to believe that they do have value, they are loved & cared for, and accepting the truth that they do deserve better than their current living conditions - if that is what they desire.”
- Jenny Falk, Director MAP
"It’s incredible to me how MAP exemplifies when people come together with what they can do. Not all of us are doing everything, but we are all doing the things that we can do. When you bring all that together, we have collective impact. I think MAP serves as a blueprint for what I’m hoping other partnerships can make happen down the road to impact other areas of our community. TRM loves being a part of MAP and seeing the transformations of lives through MAP. We are so thankful to be doing boots on the ground work alongside such amazing partners!”
- La Manda Broyles, Executive Director Topeka Rescue Mission
We want to thank all of our agency partners and volunteers for their dedication and support, and we also want to thank YOU for going on this journey with us and recognizing that when we take care of people, one person at a time, we are taking care of our community!