DOING JUSTICE

Every year, we conduct a community-wide listening process and gather stories about what keeps people up at night.

 

We take the themes from these stories, and members of the Good Faith Network vote on the community problems we prioritize that year. After our priorities are selected, we launch an extensive research process to articulate the problem, find solutions, and determine who has the power to implement the changes we seek. 

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MENTAL HEALTH

The scale of mental health needs in Johnson County is heartbreaking. Data from SAMHSA’s 2021 report Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States indicates that over 92000 Johnson County adult residents may currently have a diagnosable mental health condition—of those residents, more than 25000 may currently experience severe mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia, severe bi-polar disorder, major depression). We can also estimate that in 2020 12.8% of adults had substance use disorder and 12% of our youth experienced a major depressive episode.

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Our local systems for mental health care and substance use disorder in Johnson County are difficult to navigate and not scaled to the scope of need for those experiencing these problems. As a result, citizens regularly cannot secure the essential and ongoing mental health care they need, and residents in crisis often languish in emergency rooms and sometimes jail, with nowhere else to go. Without adequate access to appropriate resources or treatment, those needing care will continue to cycle through and place strain on local systems, to the detriment of the individual, the family, and the community.

The Solutions:

We seek a full commitment to access to mental health care and substance use disorder treatment in Johnson County, particularly for its most vulnerable residents, through:

  • Swift and fully resourced implementation of the Certified Community Behavioral Health Center model for Johnson County Mental Health Center, including the staffing and facilities necessary for effective delivery of service, in order to increase access to care in the community.

  • Design and implementation of a system of mental health crisis care that allows any Johnson County resident immediate access to appropriate care, allowing for diversion from emergency rooms and jail.

  • Launch of a mental health navigator program that provides consistent and customized navigation service to all residents of Johnson County to support individuals and families seeking treatment and interventions.

Download our Mental Health Research

At the 2022 Nehemiah Assembly, we asked:

"Will you work with key stakeholders to craft a plan for a crisis stabilization center in Johnson County to be opened by May 2025?"

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HOMELESSNESS

The stakes are life-and-death for those experiencing homelessness in Johnson County. McKinney-Vento data shows that, in a given year, 1000 students in our community are precariously housed or homeless. Recent HUD Point in Time counts indicate at least 180 individuals are homeless in Johnson County on any given night. 


While Johnson County has numerous programs attempting to manage services to the homeless, we have no coordinated strategy to end homelessness. A lack of accountability for ending homelessness, an over-reliance on temporary, volunteer-operated shelters with limited support services, and a failure to invest in supportive housing for the most vulnerable create cycles that trap and imperil hundreds of lives each year in Johnson County.

The Solutions:

We seek a full commitment to ending chronic homelessness in Johnson County, to be accomplished through:

  • A comprehensive, time-bound plan to end chronic homelessness that addresses emergency shelter as well as ongoing housing and support needs.

  • Prioritized direction of local, state and federal funds to activities that end chronic homelessness

  • Creation of a single entity with the authority and responsibility to implement strategies that end chronic homelessness.

  • Provision of a year-round emergency shelter co-located with support services to function as a navigation center out of homelessness.

  • Creation of permanent supportive housing to provide stable living opportunities that  combine housing assistance with services for people with serious mental illnesses and other disabilities.

Download our Homelessness Research

At the 2022 Nehemiah Assembly, we asked:

"Will you work with key stakeholders to draft a comprehensive plan to end homelessness in Johnson County, published by April 2023?" 

 

"Will you support the creation of a Homelessness Coordinator position at the county level, to be hired by September 2022?"