By Alex Carter, WIBW

“We’re expecting 1500 people here to make for systemic change in Topeka. To ask leaders in Topeka to provide services in housing and in mental health services. And across the state, we’re working on a statewide campaign to change the payday lending laws,” said Topeka JUMP co-chair Anton Ahrens.

JUMP stands for justice, unity, & ministry program, and the organization has brought together many different communities of faith.

“We’re excited that we’re bringing together 30 communities of faith with diversity gathered in one place to uphold and uplift people in Topeka and Shawnee County,” said Lynn Boddington, a team leader from Westminster Presbyterian.

Betty Edson has been a member of JUMP since it began. She said she has seen the program kickstart improvement for some long-standing problems in Topeka.

“The housing available and also mental health. They’ve been a big part of the mental health push. I think we’re not there yet, but we’re getting there,” said Edson.

Ahrens says JUMP has been able to push through meaningful policy changes that he hopes will soon lead to more affordable housing in the city.

“We were able to be present at the city council meeting where they put over 250,000 additional dollars into the housing trust fund so that it can now finally, after 8 years of work by Topeka JUMP, be used to make affordable housing in Topeka,” Ahrens said.

Edson has faith that her organization could also play a role in addressing the violence that is currently affecting many in the community.

“I think they can help us control the violence or get it under control, if anybody can.”

View the original story here.