Lee’s Summit is rated one of America’s healthiest cities by utilizing an integrated health and human services network providing services easily accessible to all its citizens whether or not they are insured. In collaboration with its charitable organizations, the City’s health system has developed the resources to assist in providing access to preventative measures, therapy, education, treatment and support to the entire community including the disadvantaged and most vulnerable.

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The Human Services Advisory Board was established in December 2010 by the City Council of Lee’s Summit as the result of the first  goal of the Health and Human Services Key Point Area originating from the council approved Lee’s Summit 360; Charting Tomorrow, Strategic Plan of 2009.

The Board composed of 14 members appointed by the Mayor, is charged with the following responsibilities:

  • Identify and assess the human service needs of the community
  • Educate and advise the City Council, the public, appropriate not for profit and government agencies about those needs;
  • Develop plans, coordinate efforts and provide support to these agencies in addressing needs; and
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of these efforts.

The second goal of Health and Human Services was to address the needs of the uninsured citizens of our community with regard to healthcare.  It was determined from MARC data compiled from the Public Use Microdata Area of 2009 that approximately 9121 were uninsured equal to 10.6% of the population which was almost double the uninsured rate of 5.5% in 2008.  St Luke’s East estimated that 3139 uninsured patients were seen at charges of approximately $11 M. Because of this data MetroCare was established in Lee’s Summit which coordinates people without insurance with primary physicians and specialty doctors who donate their time at their offices. MetroCARES Lee’s Summit started in July 2011 and has referred 113 patiients.

More adult children are living at home,some with their families, while some  parents are supporting their children and their families outside their own home.  Where would these young adults turn if their parents weren’t there to support them?

Lee’s Summit Social Services serves this need.  Last year they served 4886 families which is approximately 19% of the total families in Lee’s Summit.  In 2011, 814 new families came to the doors of Lee’s Summit Social Services – all of these people received budget counseling along with the other assistance they needed.  Food and clothing are staples but LSSS also assists with rent and utilities as well as coordinates with the Kansas City Medicine Cabinet for prescriptions, diabetic supplies and vision care.   As our population ages, individual giving has gone down.  LSSS only gives out what it has to give and the gap between the need and the supply is increasing dramatically.

Another agency focused on reintegrating citizens into society with the tools to be successful is Hillcrest Transitional Housing. In 2011, Hillcrest Transitional Housing graduated 44 families to self-sufficiency. That included 12,000 bednights, 45,000 meals and the residents paid off $72,000 in old bills.

Problems of the people needing help for mental health are becoming more severe with multiple problems. There is a shortage of people working in the mental health field, especially psychiatry. Mental Health is a rapidly changing field with new regulations and more expectations and overall cuts in funding. Even with those challenges, ReDiscover treated 5155 in all of their in house programs and 250 in school based programs.

Our schools are also known for the education they provide our 1,639 special needs youth.  MCC-Longview ACED program offers ongoing education for these special people and Lakewood Counseling Center – TMC helps to find job placement for them.  Coldwater has in their plans to build housing for special needs adults who now have to move to other communities if family is unable to assist them.   

Hope House provides services to victims of domestic violence they served 1,243 women and children last year in their two emergency shelters for a total of 39,470 bed nights. They provided court advocacy to an additional 8595 victims. They turned away another 999 for shelter and have waiting lists for all of their outreach services.

Community Mediation Center attempts to deal with some of these same situations through peaceful resolution.  Last year 123 Lee’s Summit residents participated in mediation 68 were family related.

When life suddenly changes and through a myriad of different circumstances you might experience a physical loss – an arm or leg or feeling- Whole Person is there to help you learn how to live a full and rewarding life as well as help you to learn new skills so that you can find employment.  They helped 2 families in Lee’s Summit last year.  

For our Elders who live at home but  need help, One Good Meal is there. One Good Meal serves 90 seniors five days per week.  47% are on discounted meals.  This is up by 22% from previous years.

The youth of our community face many challenges not the least of which is bullying.  Because of technological advances bullying has become a serious threat to our youth.  Where once mean things were said to one person, now they are broadcast to 17,000. Lee’s Summit CARES offers I Can Make A Difference anti-bullying programs for youth as well as Love & Logic classes for parents where moms and dads are made aware of the dangers of cyber bullying.  96 students self reported instances of bullying last year which is up by 30 from the year before.  Each one of these was addressed through counseling.  Lee’s Summit CARES offers many other programs to ensure youth safety

Our schools have 18000 students with 20% on free and reduced lunch.

Coldwater sends backsnacks to 210 chronically hungry youth of our community.   
Pro Deo Youth Center sees 480 youth on a monthly basis.  These youth are 15 – 24 and participate in one of the many programs that Pro Deo Youth Center does to model good character and raise self esteem.  These are the disengaged youth of our community some of whom are homeless or about to be.

Rachel House helps teens through teen pregnancy.  They had 481 pregnancy tests in Lee’s Summit last year with 120 continuing in service.

Finally, Lee’s Summit Underwater Recovery is a unique nonprofit for which Lee’s Summit should be proud.  They are volunteers who specialize in underwater recovery.  Last year they had 63 operations totalling 3027 volunteers hours as lifeguards at Special Olympics Polar Plunge, Triathalons, weapons and evidence recovery, searches for missing persons and recovery of boats and cars.  They have served not only Lee’s Summit but also the region and the nation.  

These are a few of the nonprofits who serve Lee’s Summit. They  are the ones who provided me with some kind of data.  Most of this data is specific to Lee’s Summit.  Hope House and Hillcrest Transitional Housing includes Independence and Lee’s Summit.  Most of the ones who reported comparable statistics saw a rise of around 20 % in need.  Decrease in funding was reported from 10% upward.  Truman Medical Center actually reported an increase in funding and Hope House reported that while overall funding was down, Lee’s Summit raised their funding level.