KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Eden Village is a new mobile home village in Kansas City, Kansas — a permanent living community for those that are chronically homeless.
KSHB 41 News first reported on the people combatting homelessness and building the community in July.
They say a lot of demolition and brush clearing along Metropolitan Avenue has happened since then.
On Tuesday, the first mobile home arrived in KCK — the first of 23 new mobile homes.
Katrina Gerber, an Eden Village Board member, says each home costs $60,000 dollars. The community was privately funded by volunteers and people in the Kansas City area.
“This is actually a house that my husband and I purchased in honor of my sister-in-law who had a really big heart,” Gerber said. “It’s been a year since we started fundraising for this community. Literally a year later, we got a house.”
Gerber said this effort is in hopes of helping the homeless get back on track.
She and Eden Village board members believe creating individual permanent housing is the way to do that.
“They are 400-square foot homes,” Gerber said. “These people don’t have a lot of stuff. They have a backpack; to them this is huge. They get a bedroom, their own bathroom, sitting room, TV and a full kitchen.”
Gerber says this is also about changing people’s perceptions and knows neighbors have questions.
“Will there be a background check on these people?” one neighbor asked Gerber.
Gerber said she's been working to answer the questions and concerns of neighbors.
“She wanted assurance of what we are doing,” Gerber said. “This is going to be a neighborhood for chronically homeless people. There will be background checks, drug-free, security — it’s completely gated with fingerprint access only to those that live here.”
Gerber says taking care of the land and paying rent is part of it.
“They aren’t getting to live here for free,” she said. “They have to pay rent, so that gives them some pride and ownership in what they are doing there.”
They hope for a sense of family and community modeled after a similar community in Springfield, Missouri, which according to Gerber, has been successful.
“There’s an application process, when they prove they can pay the rent they can live here as long as they need,” she said.
Gerber says nine out of 23 mobile homes are spoken for.
After more repairs, landscaping and more homes, they hope for mid-May move-ins.
They say if you want to volunteer, go here.