Non-profit rehabbing KC, one block at a time

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - It's a problem Kansas City continues to struggle with: blighted and vacant homes.

The city has varied options to combat it: selling the homes for a dollar, demolishing them, and allowing several non-profits to purchase and rehab them.

But Tikkun-KC is a non-profit that doesn't focus on one house; it focuses on the block.

"The stretch of houses between the 35 and 3600 block of Indiana is the textbook definition of blight," explained Larry Myers Sunday morning. He runs the non-profit Tikkun-KC. The name comes from Tikkun-Olam, "which is in the Jewish Tradition," he said, "which means repairing the world. We can’t repair the world, but we can take care of a little bit of Kansas City."

On Sunday, the repairs were at 3532 Indiana Avenue. Myers purchased it last fall. He's already given 3532 Indiana a new roof and a new exterior look. On a windy July day, volunteers were inside, pulling out shiplap. Walls were tumbling down, and clouds of dust were rising from the home.

As volunteer Kevin Shea described it, "Very hot and sweaty and dirty," he said with a grin. "And now I have a better appreciation for all those home-improvement shows."

But it isn't just a home improvement. It's a block improvement. Myers wants to repair all the homes on the block. Already, he owns three homes here, which he purchased from The Land Bank of Kansas City.

"Our mission is to find the most deserted, the most blighted blocks in Kansas City," he said. "We`ve done a number of them so far. This is the next one."

He has volunteers, like Kevin Shea and others from Congregation Beth Torah, to do the easy part. If you call demolition easy.

He has professionals do the tough stuff, like plumbing and wiring. To make sure that room by room (and block by block), there are repairs to Kansas City.

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