Local Missions: Hillcrest Hope

November 2022 | Written & Compiled by Steve Moberg

      Hillcrest Hope has been working for over 44 years to change the face of homelessness in Kansas City.  They do this by providing transitional housing that is rent-free and utility-free.  But they go beyond that to teach the skills needed to pay off debt, save money, along with other valuable life skills for each family and/or individual.  Each family sets goals and seeks to gain the resources necessary to move into a home of their own at the end of the three-month program.  And they are not alone during that work, as staff and community volunteers partner with them along the way.

       Gashland’s relationship with Hillcrest Hope will change somewhat in 2023.  The Outreach Team, as it seeks to utilize our resources in the support of many organizations, has decided to no longer sponsor Apartment 11 at Hillcrest Hope’s Avondale location.  However, GEPC will continue to provide financial support (at a reduced level) to the organization and we will continue to collect pantry items for the Avondale complex.  The Outreach Team will also continue to advise our congregation regarding volunteer opportunities at Hillcrest Avondale. Examples include being a financial counselor, performing work in the pantry, cleaning and repairing apartments or mowing grass.

      Members may also support Hillcrest Hope by volunteering at their thrift store, which uses retail repurposing to provide critical funding support for their transitional housing services.  The Thrift Store is located at 7 West Mill Street in Liberty.  It is open for shopping Monday through Saturday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  Donations are accepted Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

      Due in large part to the support of individuals, churches, and businesses in our community, Hillcrest Hope offers three distinct programs to support the homeless and working poor.

Hope Essentials:  Hope Essentials provides each family with a two bedroom, fully furnished, apartment.  The program is based upon high accountability and families are required to live on all needs and no wants.  Each adult in the household must have a full-time job or be actively seeking full-time employment.  Families are required to attend weekly meetings, including case management, budget counseling, life skills and community living.

Hope Opportunities:  This program encourages graduates to participate in community engagement, self-improvement, and other positive activities both for themselves and their children with incentives that continue to provide support and stability. Graduates are eligible to participate in the Opportunities program for five years following their Hillcrest Hope graduation. Points are earned and reported to be redeemed for benefits, like financial assistance for gas, childcare, rent, and other essentials.

Hope Solutions:  Often, the solutions for homelessness are crisis response.  What if it doesn’t have to be? What if we can prevent homelessness from happening?  Hope Solutions attempts to keep people in their home.  Those in crisis can apply for six months of financial support with resource-building, budgeting, and guidance to regain stability.

      Mike and Bonnie Zachary have served as Gashland’s contacts with Hillcrest Hope, but they plan to retire from that responsibility at the end of this year.  Until their replacements are determined, you can contact Caleb Mason at caleb@gashland.org.  And to get more information about Hillcrest Hope or to learn of other ways you can support their mission, visit hillcresthope.org.