Thrive seeks to help transient

Thrive Allen County told commissioners the group is seeking a grant to help transients find emergency housing.

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Local News

May 14, 2024 - 2:11 PM

Thrive Allen County Deputy Director Jessica Thompson speaks to commissioners about an emergency housing grant Tuesday morning. Photo by Sarah Haney / Iola Register

Thrive hopes to help better assist those needing shelter in Allen County via an emergency solutions grant. Jessica Thompson, with Thrive Allen County, approached the county commission Tuesday morning seeking support for the grant application process.

“This solution focuses on finding emergency housing,” in the form of hotel vouchers for transients, said Thompson. “It’s for those who are here for just a day or two and need some help as they transition from one housing situation or community to the next.”

Thompson explained that Thrive must go through the county to apply for the grant, which is awarded through the Kansas Housing Resource Commission.

Hope Unlimited has also applied for the grant, Thompson said, “but for different types of services.” 

She noted the grant would likely be between $30,000 to $40,000.

Commissioner David Lee questioned whether there was a need for the grant.

Thompson asserted there is. Usually it’s people trying to make their way to larger cities, she said, but sometimes it’s for those locating here.

“We had one instance where someone was just starting a new job,” she said. “They didn’t have a place to live and just needed a few days to get on their feet with the new job and find a place to live. This would help people like that.”

The Ministerial Alliance also offers motel vouchers but, according to Thompson, they go through them quickly. “It is such a need for our community,” she said.

Thompson clarified that while the grant money would only be used as needed, it is for one year. “You would have a year to spend that money,” she explained. The commissioners unanimously approved the grant application.

IN OTHER NEWS, Public Works Director Mitch Garner informed commissioners that the main runway lights are on at the airport. “It’s open for them to land at night now,” he said. Additionally, Garner noted that the county may save some money on the 50×50 foot hangar project with the relocation of the walk-in door. 

Garner noted that if a hydraulic door is installed in the front of the hangar while a walk-in door is located on the back, it could potentially bring the total cost down by $700 or $800. 

Lee asked Garner if the hangar would accommodate two planes. “It would probably be for just one big plane,” Garner said, but could potentially fit two smaller aircraft. “A small plane and a helicopter, maybe,” he said. 

Currently, the airport has two tee hangars, capable of housing three aircraft on each side. “Because they can house more, the cost is quite a bit more than a 50X50 hangar,” Garner said.

Becky Johnson, director of the Multi-County Health Department, gave an overview of services offered in the county, followed by a yearly funding request for $115,000. “We’re continually expanding and adding new programs to try to better serve Allen County and the surrounding population,” said Johnson. “We’re looking at ways to better meet the needs of all populations, not just moms and babies.” 

In the past year, the department offered free tetanus shot clinics for people affected by flooding; attended various conferences; and offered a variety of training courses, including CPR, car seat safety, and safe sleep training that teaches how to correctly have babies sleep to prevent SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

The department has also recently applied to be a breast milk donor site. “We will be having a freezer provided to us by the Oklahoma Milk Bank and once that is in place and we receive the milk, we will be a drop-off station,” she said. From there, the donations are sent to the Oklahoma Milk Bank where they process and check for diseases or drugs. “Once that is processed, it will be donated back to our nearby birthing centers,” she said. 

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