The long awaited housing expansion project for Sheffield Place should be move-in ready by the end of March. Located at 1004 Newton, the building has been under construction since March of 2020. Upon its completion, it will house seven new families for the organization.
Sheffield Place began its mission of serving homeless mothers and their children in the Kansas City area in 1991. Since its opening, the non-profit has served over 1,200 families in this pursuit, from homelessness to self-sufficiency. With this new housing expansion, the organization will increase the number of families they are able to serve by over 30 percent.
“Last year, we received 753 phone calls from women seeking shelter for themselves and their children,” said David Hanzlick, Sheffield Place Director of Program and Development. “We were able to serve 98 residential services, so we’re serving 13% of the demonstrated need in the community.”
Due to the high demand for help, Hanzlick said the organization has been looking for ways to expand their housing resources. By the time this building is fully implemented, Sheffield Place will be able to serve 172 families a year, compared to the 131 families it served in 2020.
The building was purchased by Sheffield Place in early 2020 from Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church. It was once a former convent for the nuns who taught at what was then St. Stephens Elementary School, located just behind the property.
The house itself is divided into seven units. There are four living units on the second floor, three living units on the first, a communal space and kitchen on the first floor, and a basement. Each of the units will have a private bath, institutional bunk beds and dressers.
The units are each a bit different in size and shape. The smaller units can hold a family of two to three, while the larger units can hold up to four people. Hanzlick said the organization’s main building, located at 6604 E. 12th St., will continue to serve any families larger than that.
Sheffield’s main building is only 0.2 miles away from this new expansion. This makes it easy for the families located in the new building to still access the groups, activities and resources located at the main facility, Hanzlick said.
Each unit will also be outfitted with an apartment-sized refrigerator and a microwave, while the rest of the cooking essentials will be located in the communal kitchen for the residents to share. The plan, Hanzlick said, is to also add a table in the communal area to seat six to eight people, and a television.
The kitchen is not the only communal space in this facility. The whole building will be surrounded by a privacy fence that will create a small yard for the children to play in. There is a wraparound porch to the building, as well, for residents to share.
“We would hope that with the number of different spaces, families will have places to interact with each other,” Hanzlick said.
Hanzlick said although this project is coming to a close, another one is soon to begin. Upon the new building’s completion, Sheffield Place will then turn construction efforts to its main building. Fourteen of the 17 housing units in it are original from when the building first opened in 1991, so the plan is to make repairs to the bathrooms and the three communal kitchens.
In order to make the repairs to the new building, Hanzlick said several residents will be moved from the main building into the new housing on Newton, which will be used as a transitional step in each family’s process. When a family becomes more stable, they may be moved out of the main building into the old convent until they are ready for more permanent housing.
“Just as they do for the main facility, they’ll be able to transition from here to permanent housing in the community,” Hanzlick said. “In some cases, they might transition into Sheffield Place houses.”
In addition to their main building and this new facility, Sheffield Place owns 10 units of housing in the Sheffield neighborhood. Four are located right on Bennington between Sheffield Place and 11th Street, one near Paseo Academy, and the rest located on 12th Street and 13th Terrace.
These 10 units of housing provide an option where a singular family can rent a house and pay adjusted rent. Just like with any of the Sheffield properties, families can stay in the house for as long as they want to, Hanzlick said. Sheffield Place will continue to offer ongoing services, such as case management therapy, as long as they comply with program requirements.
The new housing project is being funded through Sheffield Place’s “A Place to Grow” Capital Campaign. Through an outpouring of support from the community, the $1.8 million campaign has reached its goal in gifts and pledges from foundations, corporations, government and individuals.
“This new building is really key to what has been a 10 year strategic vision of serving more families with more and more effective services,” Hanzlick said. “We’ve been on this steep growth curve to serve more and more families.”