Metro homeless advocates join forces, launching new collaboration

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hundreds of groups in Kansas City work to help the homeless. But leaders in some of those groups say there’s one big thing missing: collaboration.

The newly formed Merging KC A Kingdom Wide Collaboration, which hosted its first meeting Wednesday night, has two main goals. They’re to end homeless and restore Kansas City’s green spaces.

Just People Doing Good Things and Kansas City Heroes are part of the more than 100 estimated groups who help Kansas City’s homeless.

There are feedings where groups also offer them clothing and healthcare. Groups also work to clean up the parks where many of the roughly 1,800 homeless people in the metro live.

“We started to see clothes, food, trash, items that we were giving them at one event and then we were cleaning it up in the parks, woods, all these places afterward,” Houston DeFoe of Just People Doing Good Things said.

That’s when Defoe and the founder of Kansas City Heroes, Jennifer McCartney, decided there needed to be more collaboration — not just between their groups but all those in Kansas City working to end homelessness.

“We need to address this on a more global, bigger thing because it’s not getting better. We are just kind of putting a Band-Aid on it,” McCartney said. “And it’s not going to get better unless we rip that Band-Aid off and let it heal.”

Advocates brainstormed dozens of topics to discuss at future meetings including mental health and addiction, food and clothing needs, transitional housing, education and job opportunities.

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