Topeka JUMP pursues systematic change in Shawnee County, Kansas through local policy and funding changes. Our Mission is to provide a powerful vehicle for marginalized groups in Shawnee County to fight for justice. We are committed to seeing justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
These are our past and current issue campaigns.
The 83 white bags represent the 2019 shooting victims.
SAFE AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING
2015 - present
In 2019, after pushing for four years, JUMP got the Topeka City Council to pass an affordable housing trust fund ordinance. In a 2020 Topeka Housing Study, consultants revealed that you have to make $16/hr to afford a safe two bedroom rental unit. We want the city budget to include $2 million dollars annually for the affordable housing trust fund. This will incentivize construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing.
2017 - present
Kansas law allows companies to charge three times more for payday loans than companies in Colorado. Kansans for Payday Loan Reform stands against payday loan products that are harmful and immoral. These loans are meant to be a bridge during hard times and not an inescapable trap. In February 2021 House Bill 2189 and Senate Bill 218 were introduced into the Kansas legislature. We are pushing our legislators to reform this predatory industry.
A federal survey conducted by SAMHSA estimated that in 2019, 162,000 Kansans had a diagnosable substance use disorder. That means likely 8,568 Topekans are struggling with addiction. For people battling addiction, relapse is extremely common after treatment.
A major barrier to overcoming addiction is social support, reliable employment and stable housing. The Oxford House is a proven strategy that helps provide all of these. This model helps people in recovery stay sober. At our 2021 Nehemiah Action with 1,353 people, Kansas Department on Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) commissioner Andy Brown made a commitment to advocate for the expansion of Oxford Houses in Shawnee County. On October 1, we learned that our proposal of $261,000 over two years was approved leading to up to 14 new Oxford Houses (with 100 new beds) over the next two years!
MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS
2021 - 2022
In 2020, Governor Laura Kelly by executive order created a Commission on Racial Equity and Justice. That commission found that behavioral health care is a criminal justice issue. Their research tells us that people with serious mental illness and/or substance use disorders are 3 to 6 times more likely to be represented in the criminal justice system.
Based on the stories shared in our listening process, we found that the most challenging gap to navigate is when de-escalation is unsuccessful and a loved one needs to be involuntarily admitted into a crisis stabilization unit. Crisis Stabilization Units (CSU) are small inpatient facilities of less than 16 beds for people in a mental health crisis whose needs cannot be met safely in residential service settings. CSUs are designed to admit on a voluntary or involuntary basis when the person needs a safe, secure environment and to stabilize the person and get them back into the community quickly. The closest CSU to Topeka is the over-crowded Osawatomie State Hospital. But this year, we won a commitment from Valeo Behavioral Health Care to expand their crisis services to include "crisis intervention care" beds as an alternative to jail by 2023.
2018 - 2021
In 2017, Topeka had it's deadliest year with 30 murders. Shootings have continued to plague our community. In 2019, JUMP identified Group Violence Intervention (GVI) as a proven strategy to reduce gun violence. We introduced this model to Shawnee County decision makers and stakeholders like community organizations, law enforcement, Stormont Vail, Washburn University, and the Greater Topeka Partnership.
After building grassroots community support for this strategy, private and public dollars were raised so that we could start implementation in 2021. At our 2020 Nehemiah Action Assembly, JUMP secured a commitment from a Shawnee County Commissioner to work with the commission to fund a project manager position for GVI in the 2021 budget. The commission approved the request unanimously. Topeka stakeholders renamed the initiative Strategies Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE), a project manager was hired by January 2021. Today, implementation of GVI is stalled.
The current program known as SAVE does NOT use the evidence-based model, GVI. Now, we are looking for an agency who is willing to prioritize the needs of the people, recommit to GVI, and work to reduce shootings in our city.
TRANSPORTATION TO LIVING WAGE JOBS
2016 - 2020
Our public transportation system is inadequate for workforce needs. In 2017, we implored Topeka Metro to make a plan to expand public transit to major employers outside the city limits. This partnership created the SOTO and NETO pilot programs. SOTO and NETO gave 26,360 rides by the end of 2019. While SOTO and NETO was successful at meeting a serious need, local officials did not work to permanently establish the programs at the end of the pilot commitment. Now, people are back to needing rides to work.
2015 - 2017
Many incarcerated people struggle with a mental health diagnosis. Employment is critical to recovery when someone is released from jail. In 2016 and 2017, The Shawnee County commission restored $300,000 in budget cuts to mental health services.
2013 - 2015
In USD 501 Topeka Public schools, thousands of students were falling through the cracks because they did not have access to wrap around services to ensure their success in the class room. JUMP challenged the Superintendent to expand a program called Communities in Schools (CIS). As a result, in 2015 1,000 more students had access to CIS.