Transitional housing project to help hundreds of KC homeless - KCTV5

Transitional housing project to help hundreds of KC homeless families

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A metro hospital that once cared for the sick and injured has sat empty and abandoned for 10 years, but soon, it will open to mend families' broken dreams.

With one metro man's help, the old and abandoned Park Lane Hospital is slowly making the transition into a complex to help hundreds of homeless families.

When John Wiley walks through the old hospital, he sees beyond the unfinished walls, hanging wires and duct work.

"What I see isn't a building. I see the families, and that is what motivates me. That is why I bought it in the first place. That is why we gutted it. That is why we work so hard,"  said John Wiley, founder of River of Refuge.

Wiley and a crew are working hard, renovating the old abandoned hospital for metro families stuck in a dead-end-cycle.

Currently, there are only 38 beds for homeless families in Kansas City, and the families have to split up, fathers and sons go to one shelter and mothers and daughters to another.

Wiley said there are hundreds of hard-working families with children that are struggling to get by. Instead of turning to the streets, they get trapped living in one-room, pay-by-week motels.

"They do get stuck in motels thinking it will be two or three weeks, but they end up paying twice what everyone else pays in one room motels. So anything they can save to get out for first months usually goes to a car breaking down or a child getting sick, that is why they get stuck for so long," Wiley said.

He has been helping them for years under his non-profit organization River of Refuge.

The complex will eventually house 350 beds, so rather than helping two or three families a month, he will have the ability to help hundreds.

Families will live and eat there for free, and work with a financial planner to save money for a more permanent and affordable place of their own.

"These people have names to me. I know the children by name. I can find them in any motel around the metro area. These are real people with jobs who live in our community whose children are in our school district, who shop in our grocery stores, these are our neighbors, and we're accountable to help them," Wiley said.

Wiley hopes to have the center open within the year, but that is not going to happen without the community's help.

Opening the doors is directly connected to community donations, and they are close.  Organizers need about $475,000 more to complete phase one.

If you want to help, click here.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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