KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Eden Village is a new mobile home village in Kansas City, Kansas – a permanent residential community for the chronically homeless.
KSHB 41 messages first reported about the people Fight homelessness and build community in July.
They say there has been a lot of demolition and bush clearing along Metropolitan Avenue since then.
The first mobile home arrived at the KCK on Tuesday – the first of 23 new mobile homes.
Eden Village board member Katrina Gerber says each house costs $60,000. The church was privately funded by volunteers and people in the Kansas City area.
“This is actually a house that my husband and I bought in honor of my sister-in-law, who had a really big heart,” Gerber said. “It has been a year since we began fundraising for this community. Literally a year later we got a house.”
Gerber said these efforts are in hopes of helping the homeless get back on track.
She and the board members of Eden Village believe that creating individual permanent homes is the way forward.
“These are 400-square-foot houses,” Gerber said. “These people don’t have much stuff. You have a backpack; for them this is huge. You get a bedroom, a private bathroom, a living room, a TV and a fully equipped kitchen.”
Gerber says it’s also about changing people’s perceptions and knows neighbors have questions.
“Will there be a background check on these people?” a neighbor asked Gerber.
Gerber said she is working to address neighbors’ questions and concerns.
“She wanted reassurance about what we’re doing,” Gerber said. “This will be a quarter for the chronically homeless. There will be background checks, drug free, security – it’s complete with fingerprint access only for those who live here.”
Gerber says taking care of the land and paying the rent is part of it.
“They don’t live here for nothing,” she said. “They have to pay rent, which gives them a certain pride and ownership of what they do there.”
They’re hoping for a sense of family and community along the lines of a similar community in Springfield, Missouri, which Gerber says has been successful.
“There is an application process, if you can show that you can pay the rent, you can live here for as long as you need,” she said.
According to Gerber, nine out of 23 mobile homes have been taken.
After further repairs, landscaping and more apartments, they hope to move in by mid-May.
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