KC Rescue Mission facing budget crunch following major plumbing problem

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Rescue Mission is trying to bounce back after a harsh winter and a maintenance mess is straining an already tapped out budget.

Sarah Jackson is getting a fresh start at Kansas City Rescue Mission's Women's Center.

"We have so many classes that help educate me to refocus my thoughts," Jackson said.

She was thrilled when the mission expanded last summer with new therapy and classrooms, restrooms and a library in the basement of a former church next door.

"A lot of us that come in here are broken. We're sad and grieving, and we're going through a lot. Therapy really helps us out," Jackson said.

But now, the brand new bathrooms in the space are off-limits after sewage started bubbling up a few weeks ago. Tracing the cause of the issue has been a nightmare.

"We fished a wire to this point where it wouldn't go through again. So we opened up the ground," said Joe Colaizzi, Kansas City Rescue Mission executive director.

Ultimately, they found two major clogs and one disconnected line. Uncovering the cause required busting up concrete, removing old piping and cutting down three trees. All the work and repairs will cost nearly $20,000.

"The more holes we had to dig, the deeper we had to go into the problem, the higher the cost went and so we're in a situation right now where we're trying to figure out how we're going to get to making it all work," Colaizzi said.

The mission's maintenance budget won't begin to cover the costs, and the operating budget is already maxed after a rough winter kept shelter space full.

"Everything kind of piled up on everything else," Colaizzi said.

Contractors are working to make things right. In the mean time, it's a major inconvenience for the women who live at the mission, especially the disabled, who have a tougher time getting to other bathrooms.

The mission is banking on the community's generosity to help cover the surprise expense so it can keep providing services the women rely on.

"Just be generous if you can. Help us out," Jackson said.

The mission is planning an open house in June. It's hoping to put this plumbing problem behind it soon.

If you'd like to help, you can make a donation to the mission here.

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