City Union Mission: Thinking outside the box

By Michael Bushnell

When it comes to creating additional bed space for Kansas City’s ever-growing homeless population, sometimes innovation and new ideas take a back seat to the old-school, barracks-style beds in a gym concept that allows little privacy or dignity – much less security – for the newly sheltered guest.

City Union Mission hopes to change that paradigm by partnering with Shield Casework of North Kansas City to provide a new concept in interior sheltering options to the city’s homeless population just ahead of winter’s arctic blast.

City Union Mission will be installing eight new, customized “Murphy bed” style units along with roughly 20 traditional bedding units to expand its indoor housing capacity by approximately 30%.

“We’re looking to utilize every available space at our Family Shelter to ensure our guests feel safe, secure, valued and respected,” said City Union Mission CEO Terry Megli. “With winter fast approaching, we sought a short-term solution of expanding our bed capacity within our existing facility.”

The modified POD concept will go into production sometime in December or early January in Shield’s North Kansas City facility.

Shield Casework founder Steven Hopkins said the modified Murphy bed concept is ideal for installation in a large communal room such as a gymnasium because it takes up a minimal amount of space, allows for daytime programming in the open space and adds additional winter housing space for homeless clients.

“We partnered up with Perkins & Will in Los Angeles because we were already sending our POD housing units out to L.A.,” said Hopkins. “We worked with their designer Yan Krymsky on the modified design, ran it by the folks at City Union Mission; they liked the concept.”

Shield Casework works primarily in medical cabinets and tables, as well as higher end athletic lockers used by professional sports franchises like the Charlotte Hornets and the Los Angeles Rams. The modified design being used by City Union Mission is designed to be installed against an interior wall of an open space and folds neatly up during the day.

The Murphy bed cabinets will be constructed out of a Corian-like laminate surface and be roughly 26 inches deep by 42 inches wide in order to accommodate the fold away, XL-twin mattress provided by the agency. When the cabinet doors are open, they act as a screen and provide some privacy and dignity for the client versus a standard open sleeping area that would typically be in an emergency warming center. Each unit is divided by a 20-inch wardrobe area with birch doors for hanging garments and storage. 

Hopkins says he’d love for his organization to be considered for more local work as most of the company’s POD housing units are shipped to out of town agencies.

“We do so much work nationally, it’s really cool to work in the city in which you live,” Hopkins said. “It’s wonderful to drive up the road and be able to help people in our community.”

The POD units for City Union Mission will each cost around $4,000 and will potentially be installed early next year.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Classifieds

    May 11th, 2022


    235: Neighborhoods with John Baccala

    May 7th, 2022

    On this week’s episode of the Northeast Newscast, we’re joined by John Baccala, spokesperson for the City’s Neighborhood’s Department. We […]

    Remember This?

    April 27th, 2022

    By Dorri Partain Watch it wiggle, see it jiggle! Jelled desserts have come a long way since the 15th century, […]

    Funding announced to start work on park over south side of downtown loop

    April 26th, 2022

    Kansas City leaders, Sen. Roy Blunt and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver announced Friday the first step to realizing a new vision […]

    Family Dollar Career Opportunities

    April 13th, 2022

    All of the Family Dollar stores in Historic Northeast are looking for quality minded individuals to join their team of […]

    Dangerous tree removed from cemetery

    April 6th, 2022

    By Abby Hoover In the northeast corner of Elmwood Cemetery stood a tall, very old bur oak tree. It grew […]

    Kansas City Museum announces JewelHouse

    March 23rd, 2022

    A New Conservatory for the Cultivation, Presentation, and Preservation of Our Stories Sponsored Content In honor of Women’s History Month, […]

    Hardee’s Career Opportunities

    March 23rd, 2022

    At Capstone Restaurant Group, we are dedicated to the fast food industry and are independently owned and operated as a […]

  • New Della Lamb Early Education Director focuses on strong foundations

    March 23rd, 2022

    By Abby Hoover Della Lamb welcomed a new Early Education Director, LaTrecia Thornton, an experienced educator, in February. The organization […]

    Historic Northeast Neighborhood Issue

    March 16th, 2022

    By Abby Hoover This week’s issue is dedicated to the historic neighborhoods of Northeast Kansas City, Mo. The six neighborhoods […]

    “The Table” takes weeks of preparation

    March 15th, 2022

    By Dorri Partain When Sylvia Raya and Anita Gulotta, along with other members of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, refer to […]

    City preps for snow, cancels trash pick-up

    March 9th, 2022

    Kansas City snow crews are preparing for another winter storm expected to arrive early Thursday morning, March 10. Crews will […]

    Lincoln alumni, school work to install school history room

    February 16th, 2022

    By Abby Hoover Lincoln College Preparatory Academy has served Kansas City’s students since it was founded as the singular Black […]

    International Marketplace: The Tamale Kitchen (Help Wanted)

    February 9th, 2022

    The Tamale Kitchen has a number of exciting job opportunities and is seeking people with a passion for tamales and […]

    222: Alex Pérez on Parks Board, Hispanic Development Fund

    February 5th, 2022

    On this week’s episode of the Northeast Newscast, we’re joined by Alejandra Perez, Board of Kansas City Parks and Recreation […]

    I- 35 to close for bridge replacement

    February 2nd, 2022

    Work on the Buck O’Neil Bridge/US 169 replacement will cause extensive closures for portions of I-35 downtown beginning in March. […]

    Final Paseo Gateway projects to break ground this month

    February 2nd, 2022

    By Abby Hoover The Paseo Gateway Initiative has been in the works since January 2016 when the U.S. Department of […]

    Red Cross offers safety tips for winter storm moving in

    February 1st, 2022

    The American Red Cross of Missouri and Arkansas is offering safety tips ahead of the upcoming snow, ice and frigid […]

    Show Me KC Schools comes home to Northeast

    January 12th, 2022

    Show Me KC Schools, a group helping families find the best fit for their students’ education, is relocating to Northeast […]

    KCPS community celebrates earning full accreditation

    January 11th, 2022

    After years of hard work, Kansas City Public Schools today received full accreditation from the Missouri State Board of Education, […]

  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.