Help is on the Way for Metro Homeless Women
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Homeless shelters are often busting at the seams during the winter. For single women, the problem is even worse.
The Kansas City Rescue Mission did three different surveys and found a huge gape in services for single homeless women. Now, they’re doing something about it. They’re breaking ground for a women’s center to fill the long term need.
The slogan for the Kansas City Rescue Mission is Freedom from the Past, Hope for the Future.
It could also be a personal motto for Dee Dee Ward who’s been homeless for decades.
“I want improve and get away from this,” Ward said.
Her story began with an abusive mother.
“She picked me up at age two and threw me against a wall, she tried to kill me,” Ward said.
After that, she spent years in the foster care system. She was adopted and given back and then bounced from shelter to shelter as an adult. Doctors diagnosed Ward as mentally ill. Her three sons were taken away, but she is a survivor.
Now, at the age of 63, she hopes one wish will come true.
“I’d like to be adopted, be part of a family,” Ward said.
Organizers say women like Ward are the reason the Women’s Center is so important.
“Not intentionally, but they end up kind of on the bottom rung of the ladder because they don’t have children,” said Julie Larocco, development officer.” So, in the hierarchy in the shelters you’re going to want to take care of women with children first and so often by the time a single homeless woman comes in for help there is no space left for her.”
The Women’s Center goal is to help become stable members of the community, live in permanent housing with regular income and access to medical care. They know it will take time, but for organizers Ward and others like her are worth it.
The Women’s Center is expected to open the 20 bed facility in August of 2012. They want to keep it small so women can stay as long as they need to reach the goals set and get as much personal attention as necessary.
The fundraising effort is 40 percent of the way toward their goal.
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