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River of Refuge opens new facility aimed at helping families financially heal

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A former hospital is now home to several families trying to get back on their feet.

The River of Refuge Charity bought the old Park Lane Hospital at 52nd and Raytown Road in east Kansas City and repurposed it into apartments.

Everything has been donated, and after six years of fundraising and work, families are finally moving in. Four families currently live in the facility, but the facility hopes to eventually house more than 50 families.

"We catch families living in motels, bring them here," founder River of Refuge John Wiley said. "If they have a job they can live in it for free so they can financially heal. So we're catching people before they end up in a homeless shelter."

Those who live at the facility will get free room and board, free food and free toiletries while they work outside jobs. Counselors will teach them how to save money so they can move their family into an apartment within six to eight months.

"The whole goal here is to empower them so they can get back on their feet," Wiley said. "They're accountable for their finances every week. They have to open a savings account where we get to verify weekly deposits where the weekly rent they were paying to the motel, they're paying into themselves."

The public is invited to an open house Thursday from 5 to 7 a.m., to see how they've transformed this former hospital into apartments.

They still need donations so they can open up more apartments and help more families.

To learn more, go to riverofrefuge.com