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Eden Village prepares for grand opening in KCK

Community to provide permanent housing for homeless individuals
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Posted at 7:05 PM, May 07, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Katrina Gerber's vision to make a difference in her community is coming to fruition Saturday.

Eden Village, permanent housing for homeless individuals, will finally open its doors in Kansas City, Kansas.

"You can make a difference," said Gerber, vice president of Eden Village.

The brand-new concept utilizes individual homes to create a community of support for 23 people.

“It’s not you sit around and say, ‘That’s a problem and it’ll never get solved,'” she said. “It can get solved, and we’re doing it. And the great thing is, we did it without the city’s help or money, so it can be done. There are people who want to help and want to do something, that’s the thing that gives me hope.”

KSHB 41 News reporter Megan Abundis has covered Gerber's passion to make the village more than a roof or a homeless shelter over the last few years.

With the opening now around the corner, the Eden Village team showed Abundis how the property has transformed, which Gerber said wouldn't have been possible without the goodness of the community.

Many home furnishings, decorations, plants and volunteers' time were donated.

“We have one of the best volunteer groups that come out here every Saturday and help us get the stuff done we need," Gerber said.

More than 100 applicants have applied so far, and Gerber expects a waitlist. Move-in is set for June.

“We just want to make people feel safe and comfortable, just help them settle in and start healing," Gerber said.

But more than just providing a home, Gerber said on-site services will be made available to residents.

In addition to access to mental health and medical care, the resource center will allow a space for community between providers and tenants.

“If somebody had a case manager come or an AA meeting, they could do that here,” Gerber said. “They can have a little get-together, watch TV together, volunteers can make meals here. They can come and do their laundry here."

Gerber said giving someone a home is just that until all the support they need is addressed. Otherwise, "they will most likely not succeed."

“No longer will their main worry be, 'Where am I going to sleep tonight?' That’s taken away,” Gerber said. “They will have a bed, plates and dishes, and cook a meal for themselves. Mainly, they’ll have a place to sleep. Our hope is once that fear and that worry goes away, they’ll start healing and getting to the root of why they may be homeless now.”

Eden Village's new approach hopes to reshape how the KC area helps its homeless population.

“Once we get this one up and going in June, we will start looking for a new site and start planning for the next one, because that’s the way to solve this problem is to keep going.”

Tenants can live in the village until they pass, as long as they abide by the community rules of staying drug and alcohol-free and paying $375 per month for rent/utilities.

Gerber said most tenants will receive those funds through SSI or another disability benefit.

Saturday's grand opening starts at 10 a.m., with a ribbon cutting at 10:15 a.m.

Shuttles will run from the Franklin Center (1403 Metropolitan Avenue) and the Victory Outreach Center (1154 Ruby Avenue) to the village. There is no on-site parking.