By Kevin Collison
A 50-unit apartment project that will set aside one-fourth of its units for homeless, young adults diagnosed with HIV/AIDS is planned for 31st and Harrison streets, about a block west of a reviving stretch of Troost Avenue.
“This dusty parking lot will find new life in a way that provides housing for some of our most vulnerable people,” Councilman Eric Bunch said at the project groundbreaking ceremony. “It’s a (housing) niche that needs help.”
The four-story apartment building will include 12, studio units; 27, one-bedroom, and 11, two-bedroom units. Each will have a kitchen and washer and dryer.
The remaining 38 units will be reserved for residents who qualify for low-income housing programs. Low-income is defined as people earning 60 percent or less of the area median income.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of next year.
The apartments for young adults ages 18-25 diagnosed with HIV/AIDS are described as the first in Kansas City built specifically for that purpose, according to a press release. Onsite medical services will be provided by SAVE in collaboration with its community partners.
SAVE, Inc. was founded in 1986 to serve as a hospice for AIDS victims. It has grown to include 66 apartments in seven residential buildings, and provides low-income housing vouchers for 900 households every month in 15 counties on both sides of the state line.
“We are thrilled to be able to provide 50 new units of affordable housing to our Midtown Kansas City campus and more importantly, to the youth in our community,” Blaine Proctor, CEO of SAVE, said in a statement.
According to SAVE, many young people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and living in foster care become homeless when they age out of the program. In addition, young adults who are homeless are more likely to contract HIV through unsafe sex and needle sharing.
“This project will further support SAVE’s mission and help us to continue our 33-year history of serving Kansas City’s most vulnerable citizens through stable housing and support services,” Proctor said in the statement.
Residents at Alhaven will include other people at risk for becoming homeless including those diagnosed with mental health and/or substance abuse problems.
Wanda Washington, who described herself as being in treatment for alcohol and substance abuse, said being a tenant in another SAVE residential project has helped turn her life around.
“Since moving here, I’ve had financial security and support, and I’ve made a lot of new friendships,” Washington said at the groundbreaking event. “I’ve found a way to live without shame and embarrassment.
“SAVE is not only a safe place to live but dependable.”
The Alhaven project is a block from a stretch of Troost that’s seen significant investment including the renovation of the historic Wonder Bread bakery into apartments and retail space, and a planned apartment project at Linwood and Troost.
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