KCRM opens center to help women

By JOSHUA PHILLIPS
Northeast News
June 12, 2013

ribbon-cutting

KCRM celebrates the opening of its women’s shelter with a ribbon cutting. From left to right are Terri Bennett, Terri Bachtel and the Rev. Joe Colaizzi, all of KCRM. Photos by Joshua Phillips

Homeless women can receive help from a new women’s center, which they can now call “home.”

The Kansas City Rescue Mission (KCRM) held a ribbon cutting ceremony June 6 to showcase the new KCRM Women’s Center, which will help facilitate women who are homeless, suffering from mental illnesses or addictions or those who have been abused. The shelter, which is expected to open late June, is located at 2611 E. 11th St. on the former site of St. Aloysius Catholic Church. The Women’s Center is the newest addition to KCRM, which already has a Men’s Center to help men recover from various problems in their lives.

The Rev. Joe Colaizzi, executive director of KCRM, said this was part of God’s plan to have the new shelter built.

“We serve a God of the impossible,” Colaizzi said. “It was not my plan he was interested in. It was his plan to build this center.”

The new Women’s Center is a 20-bed facility, complete with a dining area, at least two beds and bathroom per room, laundry rooms, downstairs clothing area as well as mental health, nutrition and exercise classes for the women. Among the donated items for each room are perfumes, scented lotion, feminine bedspreads and other items.

Terri Bachtel, KCRM board president, said the Women’s Center is free to any woman in need and she can stay however long she needs help.

“This facility is life changing,” Bachtel said. “No other place in Kansas City is helping out women like we are here.”

KCRM built the new Women’s Center with the help of a number of donations. The Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka, Kan., donated $450,000 through the Affordable Housing Program (AHP) and is authorized by the Community Investment Cash Advance (CICA) regulations of the Federal Housing Finance Agency; the Hall Family Foundation donated $373,000; and an anonymous donor gave $250,000.

The total amount to renovate the Women’s Center was $2,186,396, and the remaining $300,171 will be used for maintenance, electrical, plumbing, salaries and other necessities to run the Women’s Center.

“Even though you have these three sponsors who have donated a lot for us there still were hundreds of people who donated money to support us,” said Julie Larocco, chief development officer of KCRM.

Larocco said only two things are delaying the official opening of the Women’s Center. The concrete in the front entrance of the building needs to be renovated and the center needs sod donated, so the center can apply for permanent housing with the city of Kansas City, Mo. Neighborhood and Housing Services Department.

The facility will provide emergency care, professional counseling, transitioning programs as well as help connect women to permanent and affordable housing. Although there will be staff at the Women’s Center to assist women in need, Bachtel said they will always be in need of volunteers to help the facility with providing meals to the women.

“This will offer women freedom from their past and hope for their futures,” Colaizzi said. “We are going to change the world for a whole lot of ladies in the near future.”

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