Five of the 11 available apartments will be open this month but additional funding is needed for parking lot repairs, interior renovation costs and staffing.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Lighting the parking lot, hiring a case manager and funding furniture, beds and appliances costing $62,000 are the remaining expenses needed for this first-of-its kind transitional living facility serving working poor families, most of whom have been living in expensive, rundown, pay-by- the-week motels throughout Kansas City.
River of Refuge will be able to open five of its 11 rooms with families moving in as soon as April 29. The City of Kansas City Missouri awarded River of Refuge its occupancy certificate earlier this month.
These families will be able to reside for free and eat for free at River of Refuge, while saving their own money and getting financial counseling so that they may be able to afford a home or apartment of their own in a few months’ time.
“We know that there are hundreds of families with children who are living in motels throughout the Kansas City Metro area and desperately need our services. We’ve been working so hard to open these first 11 apartments and are thrilled because we know that very soon this facility is going to be such a blessing to each and every family who comes through this program,” said Stephanie Keck, River of Refuge program director.
“Just in the past year, we’ve had to turn away more than 100 families because we didn’t have the funding nor the facility to house them.”
The program at River of Refuge is set up to offer free temporary housing for working families who qualify, allowing them to save their own money toward affordable stable housing. The nonprofit expects its first families to move in at the end of April and hopes to have all 11 apartments full after they’ve raised or surpassed the $62,000 fundraising goal.
“We will move five families in at the end of April, but without the funding we cannot move forward on the additional apartments even though those units are constructed and available,” Keck said.
The first floor east wing of the former Park Lane Hospital at 5155 Raytown Road in Kansas City, Mo. serves as the first phase of River of Refuge’s multi-bedroom, $3.2-million renovation project (including the apartments and additional renovations to the entire building).
The 50,000-square-foot-building had been left vacant for 10 years before River of Refuge Founder, John Wiley of Raytown, purchased the building in 2010 with a dream of transforming it into a home for the families who were living in motels and struggling to get back on their feet and into their own home.
Wiley helped form the local non-profit with a focus on its mission of helping Kansas City’s hidden homeless families escape the expensive motel trap and find safe, permanent homes.
“This dream has always been about a community coming together to help local families with children. That’s why I’m confident that as we enter the final stretch, we’ll find the extra funding we need to open River of Refuge and help these families,” said John Wiley, founder and board member of River of Refuge.
About River of Refuge
John Wiley founded River of Refuge in 2009 after he witnessed a group of children boarding a school bus from the parking lot of an old, run-down motel near his home in Raytown, Mo. River of Refuge was created to specifically address thousands of working families who have become trapped in pay-by-the- week motels throughout greater Kansas City and the suburbs. For more information, please visit www.riverofrefuge.com.