The poor in KC need your help!
KANSAS CITY, MO, November, 17, 2017 -- For 30 years Reconciliation Services (RS), located at 31st and Troost, has been a refuge for the working poor and homeless in Kansas City, but its ability to offer warmth, food, and critical social and therapeutic services is being threatened.
Just as the weather turned bitter cold last week, power was unexpectedly cut to RS’s location at 3101 Troost, trapping elderly clients on the 4th floor without elevator access, plunging hallways and restrooms into darkness, and suspending all services. The building contiguous to and immediately south of RS was deemed a “dangerous building” and the Fire Department and KCP&L acted quickly to shut down electricity to it. However, when they cut power to that deteriorating structure, RS also lost power and had to shut its doors.
“Reconciliation Services is a critical stabilizing presence in this area and needs community support right now to continue their work with our struggling neighbors,” said Dianne Cleaver, President and CEO of the Urban Neighborhood Initiative a Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Greater Kansas City partnership. “The Urban Neighborhood Initiative is proud to have RS as a community partner for the nearly five years we have been operating. They are working hard to transform Troost from a dividing line into gathering place, both by serving those most in need and by reaching out to others across the community. ”
For five days last week RS clients, job seekers needing an ID, community members desperate for medicine from the Medicine Cabinet at RS, families seeking assistance with rent and utilities, neighbors who come to the RS Cafe for hot coffee and hearty food were all turned away. It was a strong reminder that in spite of all the redevelopment on Troost Ave., the over 6,000 individuals who depend on RS each year are still struggling to survive and succeed.
“The great news is that RS is up and running now,” Father Justin Mathews, RS Executive Director, said. “The bad news is that it is only temporary and the unexpected cost to rent a generator and to move our electric service is a heavy burden to shoulder as the needs of the community increase during the cold winter months ahead.”
Contractors, board members and friends have pulled together to set up a temporary diesel generator enabling RS to turn on the lights, warm up the first floor and get services to those who need them the most and serve our free Friday night community meal from 5pm to 7pm today. (RS serves over 20,000 meals a year)
However, in order to keep offering our neighbors a warm, safe place to gather, eat, and access social and therapeutic services, RS must relocate its electric meter from the adjoining dangerous building. This is an unforeseen and expensive problem. Initial estimates for use of the temporary diesel generator and to relocate electrical service for RS are be between $65,000 - $75,000 or more!
“There is a note of urgency to this situation,” Father Justin said. “We need the support of the community right now to literally warm the poor and help RS care for our neighbors most in need. Every dollar raised through our #PowerUpRS appeal will help reestablish and upgrade our electrical service to power our programs at 31st and Troost and any excess raised will be used to help the poor coming to RS daily.”
RS is calling on its community to help it power up so that they can continue to open their doors to those seeking a refuge from the cold, a hearty meal, computer and Wi-fi access, document and ID assistance, rent and utility aid, critical medical and dental supplies, and depression and trauma therapy.