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Metro nonprofit plans new apartment building to help young people battling homelessness, sickness

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Dozens of metro teenagers and young adults have nowhere to go tonight. They're forced to spend the night on the streets.

One metro nonprofit has a plan to give them options.

Everyone deserves an affordable home. That's one of the missions at Save Inc., and the spirit behind a new apartment structure called Alhaven.

Save Inc's CEO, Blaine Proctor, said his agency plans to use $8 million in federal tax credits to build the forthcoming four-story structure, which will be targeted for people ages 18-24, many of whom are presently homeless or living with HIV or AIDS.

"There are community spaces available on every single floor," Proctor explained while gesturing to a rendering of the new building.

Save Inc. already operates seven residential locations in the Kansas City metro, most of which are centered around 31st and Troost.

Proctor said those younger clients are particularly vulnerable, and some have aged out of the foster care system, leaving them no place to go. A significant percentage of those people, according to Proctor, are parents, which involves even more people in need.

"It's a very vulnerable population. This group of kids, they're much more apt to experiment with drugs and alcohol. They're much more likely to attempt suicide," Proctor said.

Alhaven will be built on a tract of land that sits near 31st and Troost. For now, it's just a parking lot, but Proctor said it's a plot that's loaded with promise for young adults who are considered at-risk.

"The more you can wrap services around them, and keep them engaged, the more apt they are to be successful," Proctor said.

Proctor pointed out that new apartment buildings are built all the time in the Kansas City metro, but it's rare that they're focused on affordable rent or services for the homeless and sick.

Courtney Whited, Save Inc.'s director of programs and services, cited research that shows people who are faced with mental illness, extreme financial need and substance abuse issues are unlikely to seek help until they secure proper housing.

Whited spent 16 years as a social worker in Missouri's child welfare system before going to work for Save Inc.

"There's not a lot of places for youth to go here in Kansas City," Whited told FOX4.

"We would be absolutely excited to be able to help 10-12 youth per year with this new project. Just being able to be a safe place for those youth is wonderful. If we can transition them on to their own housing in the future that would be wonderful," Whited said on Wednesday morning.

Proctor also mentioned a hope to open Kansas City`s housing market. Alhaven's location could lead to more young people living east of Troost, and continue breaking down old barriers.

Construction at the Alhaven project won't begin until the springtime: Proctor said April or May 2019 is likely. He and other leaders at Save Inc. project the new structure will take about a year to build, and there won't be a waiting list to live there until the construction is complete.

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