For the past six years, Kids in Crisis Intervention Team has worked to help Johnson County youth find permanent shelter and solve the problems that led to their homelessness.
Now, the group has found a new home that will allow it to better serve clients.
KIC-IT has moved its drop-in center and headquarters to an office next to the Franklin Community School Corp. administration office.
Homeless and struggling youths can still come to the center twice each week for life coaching, help with job skills, emergency food and other assistance. But the move will help KIC-IT cut down on utility costs and rent, directing more money to helping the homeless.
“We’re trying to be as efficient as we can to streamline things, so that the money we get goes to the right places,” said Dave Sever, president of the KIC-IT board. “This move will help us increase that.”
KIC-IT had been renting space in downtown Franklin since it was founded. The space formerly was home to Current Church and the Gear, but when the church moved out, officials found they had too much space for their mission.
The executive director of the group, Kimberly Spurling, also is the community outreach coordinator at Franklin schools. Since her office was at Franklin Community High School, she had to shuttle back and forth to KIC-IT and other schools, even when dealing with the same problems at both places.
At the new location, Spurling has her office in the same facility as the KIC-IT drop-in center. The space is a modular building that formerly housed the school district’s informational technology department.
When the IT department moved to a new space, Spurling inquired about moving in.
“We thought it would be a great opportunity to move my office here and run KIC-IT from this building at the same time,” she said.
“The school was all on board, and our board became comfortable with it, so everything came into shape.”
Work has been ongoing to prepare the building to open on Tuesday. Bill Doty, director of operations for Franklin schools, has helped spearhead the refurbishment of the building. SS. Francis and Clare Catholic Church has provided supplies and volunteers.
The new headquarters will allow young people, ages 16 to 25, to come in to find help. A large open space with a kitchen will help staff cook hot meals for those who come in.
An emergency food pantry will provide them with food, such as peanut butter and canned soup, that they can take with them. Kids can pick up hygiene items, such as shampoo and soap.
If they need blankets or sleeping bags, KIC-IT can provide that as well. Officials also can give them vouchers to pick up clothing at the Lord’s Locker, which has partnered with KIC-IT.
“We want to create a space that’s warm and inviting, so that once they come in, they really feel comfortable here,” Spurling said.
Its location also puts it across the street from the United Way, Human Services and Youth Connections, putting the county’s major homeless advocacy groups all within walking distance of each other.
“There are more resources all in the same vicinity of each other,” Spurling said.
What: Kids in Crisis Intervention Team
When: 5 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays
Where: 998 Grizzly Cub Drive, Franklin; the building is behind the Franklin Community School Corp. administration office.
What: Drop-in center, where homeless youth ages 16 to 25 can come to get a free meal, essential supplies for survival, a comfortable place to study, research employment opportunities and connect with volunteer life coaches.
Information and how to help: kic-it.org