CSL Announces the Departure of Amber Bauer, VP of Housing Services

Doug Cowan, President & CEO

December 22, 2020

It is with mixed emotion I am reaching out today to let you know that our colleague, Amber Bauer, CSL’s Vice President of Housing Services, is taking on a new and exciting role with the Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness (GKCCEH). Effective January 1, 2021, Amber will serve as the Director of Programs at GKCCEH where she will continue to pursue her passion to serve our homeless neighbors, and to make systemic impact in our area and beyond.

Amber came to CSL in March 2015 as Noland Road Site Manager. She quickly became deeply engaged in the homeless services community, and was responsible for the growth of CSL’s Housing Services program. In 2015, through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Permanent Supportive Housing Program, we held the leases to 14 properties in the Kansas City area that allowed us to house formerly homeless individuals and families. Under her leadership CSL become a leader in the homeless services field. Thanks to strong program performance, CSL received two additional awards from HUD to expand our work.

Today, CSL holds the leases to 47 properties that house more than 80 formerly homeless adults and children. Since 2015, our yearly awards from HUD have grown from $140,000 to more than $670,000. Most importantly, Amber’s Housing Services team at CSL, which has grown by four staff members, has helped nearly 100% of their individuals and families remain stably housed, and have avoided returning to homelessness.

Amber’s impact and passion for her work has transcended her job responsibilities, especially in Independence. She brought together partners interested in conducting homeless outreach, and her numerous visits to homeless camps yielded many neighbors that were successfully assisted into permanent housing. Even broader, she helped start a community conversation about homelessness. Members of the City Council, City staff (including police), and the community at large routinely engaged with her about helping our community’s homeless. An awareness of the issue has brought forward ideas and opportunities to provide additional staffing and resources, along with an awareness of the need to layer mental health and substance abuse services with homeless outreach.

The good news for our community is that Amber will still have a significant role in our local response to those without housing. In layman’s terms, the GKCCEH, where Amber is headed, is a conduit for CSL to access HUD funding. The GKCCEH is HUD’s primary grantee for this region, and organizations like CSL compete annually to be sub-grantees. The GKCCEH serves both Jackson and Wyandotte Counties, and help facilitate a variety of community responses to homelessness. So, in that regards, we look forward to continuing our collaboration with Amber.

Homelessness is an issue that transcends city, county, and state borders, and it is truly a societal issue. This problem needs great minds working on it to provide sustainable solutions. Amber has the ability and influence to continue to make great things happen. CSL is committed to continuing our work in this field, and while our team will look different in the future, we will continue to tackle this important area of human service work.

On a very personal note, Amber and I grew up together in Independence, and both graduated from Truman High School in 1999. It’s been my pleasure to work alongside her for the last six years. She loves the community that we both still call home, and while we will miss her here at CSL, I’m glad that we’ll remain in the same industry. I’m exceptionally proud to know her, and our community should be grateful that we have people, like Amber, that are willing to tackle big problems. It would be easy to look at homelessness, and run quickly in the other direction. For every win, there are hundreds of setbacks. No one works in homeless outreach for the glory, because it’s a brutal and thankless field of work. I’m very proud of my friend for the work she does.

If you’d like to send Amber a note of thanks, she can be reached at bauera@cslcares.org until December 31, 2020.

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