Mosaic, City of St. Joseph looking at collaboration to combat homelessness

Mosaic Life Care and the City of St. Joseph are discussing a possible collaboration to target and reduce homelessness in the area.

Posted: Aug 12, 2019 7:27 PM
Updated: Aug 12, 2019 7:32 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Mosaic Life Care and the City of St. Joseph are discussing a possible collaboration to target and reduce homelessness in the area.

Mosaic recently conducted its Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) that identifies specific needs within the community, which the hospital then allocates resources and funding towards helping.

Previous story: Mosaic Health Assessment program aims to help homeless individuals in St. Joe.

"Hospitals, like us, we're required to do it every three years. It's part of an IRS requirement that we do a Community Health Needs Assessment for our population that we serve," Pat Dillon, Community Relations Officer for Mosaic, said.

Dillon added the most recent CHNA focuses on three primary needs in St. Joseph: mental health, substance abuse and access to health care for those in poverty. To tackle these issues, Mosaic, with the help of city officials, the St. Joseph Health Department, and other area agencies, created what they're calling 'Urban Mission Project.'

The project will be a collaborative approach from several area agencies to help reduce the homeless population in St. Joseph. 

"What's the next step? Is it finding housing? Is it finding a job? Wherever they're at in the continuum, we want to make sure that [homeless individuals] have the resources to move on up and get out of that situation," Dillon said. 

If passed by city council, Mosaic and the City of St. Joseph would sign a contract in agreement to let the city administer the project and the other agency partners involved. 

Mayor Bill McMurray said the city would be supervising The Crossing Outreach, Community Action Partnership of St. Joseph and Pivotal Point Transitional Housing. The agencies would all provide services that would aim to help homeless individuals with counseling, finding a job and getting permanent housing.

"We are delighted that the city is going to take an administrative role and be the main party to the contract, and that these three social service agencies, among others, these three are going to be the main ones that are going to be working to correct the problem," McMurray said.

The St. Joseph Health Department would be administering the project by getting a full-time employee to oversee the job.

On the agenda at Monday night's City Council meeting for first reading is a bill that would authorize the execution of a contract with Mosaic to provide grant funds in the amount of $101,500.26 for oversight of the Urban Mission Project. Dillon said these funds will go towards the salary for the person hired for this position.

"We have to basically be able to cover the cost for an employee to handle [administration] for us," Dillon said. "That way the city's not out any funds, it's not a burden on the city."

The funding for the project would come from Mosaic's Community Connect Grant, which goes towards their CHNA project. Dillon said the grant could be around $800,000 total each year, for three years. 

Mayor McMurray said the Health Department, The Crossing, Community Action Partnership and Pivotal Point will be required to produce a proposal covering what they're doing towards achieving the goals of the project every month during the duration of the project.

On a quarterly basis, McMurray said there will be a review with businesses, neighbors and the general public over what the project and agencies have accomplished.

"The big thing here is there's accountability. We're not just going to let this thing run wild, we're going to have definite standards, definite goals, the metrics are going to be there and we're going to have accountability," McMurray said. 

The contract has not been signed by the City or Mosaic, and won't be until it's approved by City Council.

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A cool forecast is in store for northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas this week. Fall-like weather will usher into the area Monday with highs mainly in the 60s and no hazardous weather expected through the week. The area could see its first frost Friday morning as the lows drop into the low-to-mid 30s.
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