KANSAS CITY, Mo. – River of Refuge, Kansas City’s first apartment complex dedicated to aid homeless families, will celebrate its grand opening at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, June 2 at 5155 Raytown Road in Kansas City, Mo. Local dignitaries and elected officials will be onsite for brief remarks, ceremony and tours. River of Refuge also is open for a public open house from 5 to 7 p.m., Thursday, June 2.

The first four families moved into River of Refuge last month when it opened its first 11 apartments to serve working poor families, most of whom have been living in expensive, rundown, pay-by-the-week motels throughout Kansas City. All families will be able to live for free and eat for free at River of Refuge while saving their own money and getting financial counseling to allow them to find safe and stable housing.

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 five-year-old nonprofit expects to have all 11 apartments full after they’ve raised or surpassed fundraising goals.

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.

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 a home of their own.

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.

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