Lynne Hermansen
Special to the Gardner News
Johnson County Board of Commissioners approved submitting their 2013 Housing and Community Development Action Plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at the Oct. 25 meeting.
The estimated $1.9 million in Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) and HOME funds would support community organizations such as Safe Home, Johnson County Parks and Recreation and Johnson County Behavioral Science.
Janee’ Hanzlick, Safe Home associate director, said they were very grateful for the funding received through the CDBG, and thanked the commissioners for their ongoing support.
“We rely on this funding for the safety and security for those who rely on our services,” she said. “Domestic violence is a very serious and life threatening problem in Johnson County.”
Safe Home is a domestic violence shelter that has served the Johnson County Community for 32 years.
Hanzlick said 2,803 domestic violence calls were received by police in 2010, and 67 percent of the county’s homicides are domestic-violence related.
“No part of our community is immune,” she said. “Safe Home responded to an increasing amount of people needing our services. And we are serving more people in more lethal situations, which has had an impact on all of our services.”
Valerie Carson, community development coordinator, said CBGB support promotes the goal of safe and affordable permanent and stable housing for the county’s low-income and poor residents.
“Poverty has been steadily increasing since the early 2000s, and Johnson County’s poor population has doubled from 2000 to 2011,” she said.  “6.6 percent are living in poverty in Johnson County.”
Decreased income, housing instability and hunger have a negative impact, she said.
“The minimum living wage for one adult and two children in Johnson County is $48,700,” she said. “Many in our community fail to meet that.”
Carson said only three of the top 10 occupations projected for the region from now through 2018 earn more than $30,000 in annual income.
“Knowledge, tools and resources are needed to change the projector for (poor) children,” she said.
Maurice Thompson, development support with JCBS, said the physical and intellectually disabled are able to live, work and play more successfully thanks to these funds.
“There are life changing consequences for those it has touched,” he said.
For the past 15 years they have been able to afford two wheelchair accessible buildings, Thompson said.
“Solving practical problems goes beyond money spent,” he said. “We are helping to make Johnson County a more inclusive and integrated community.”
Katie Castle, community living opportunities representative, said thousands of people are waiting for services, including those provided by the Day Services Center in Lenexa.
“Waiting lists are a huge problem for those with developmental needs,” she said.
Cassel said the funds would allow them to take advantage of unusable outdoor space, and provide more services.
“If CBGB funds are provided to us, we can turn an unusable green space into a wheelchair accessible park.”
In other business:
• The Commission also authorized a contract with APAC for a Runway 4-22 Mill, Overlay, Lighting and Precision Approach Path Indicator at New Century AirCenter for no more than $2,876,379.20; and the construction monitoring contract with Burns & McDonnell for $261,066, for a revised project authorization of $3,365,995.