KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Friday, the Beehive KC plans to officially open up at 750 Paseo Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri, offering a relatively rare place where people who need help can find it in one central location.
It’s the most recent use for the second story of the building that the Downtown Council of Kansas City owns. The idea for the Beehive came after one of the most challenging parts of the metro’s COVID-19 emergency measures.
“When we had to all go to the warming center at Bartle Hall, it showed us that there were some things that were lacking in our community and it was the communication between providers,” said Downtown Council Human Services Lead Wallace James.
The experience at Bartle Hall showed that being under one roof had its advantages. Since Nourish KC already serves hundreds of people in its Kansas City Community Kitchen at 750 Paseo, hundreds of people who could benefit from centralized services had already found a way to reliably get to the building.
“But the people what we see have additional needs, they have medical needs, they have dental needs, they have housing needs,” said Nourish KC Executive Director Mandi Jean Retter. “We can’t necessarily help them but with this space, with this collaboration we can say, ‘finish your meal and we’ll walk you upstairs.”
That short walk brings them to a room specifically designed to look like a living room, complete with a couch, television to watch, water refilling station for water bottles, and computer access. Around the outside of the room, service organizations and nonprofits have space to work with people who need them.
“If we’re already in the spaces where they are, it’s going to be easier for them to access that care,” said Care Beyond the Boulevard Founder and CEO K.K. Assmann.
She says people who are homeless often die of the same conditions and diseases that afflict the rest of the population, just much sooner.
“Forty-nine to 52 years of age is the average age of death for people who are experiencing homelessness,” Assmann said. “That’s about 25 years before you and I.”
Marqueia Watson runs the Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness and says especially in Kansas City, making it easier for the homeless population to get care by putting it in one place is key.
“In Kansas City, we don’t have a transit system that’s as robust as you might have in New York or San Francisco, so it’s more difficult for people to get around here than it is in other places,” Watson said.
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Experts say that can make the difference between someone getting the services or care they need or not.
The Beehive KC officially opens Friday. You can find more information about it here.