by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — This year it was goodbye to the “house that Hunkeler built” and hello to a new, more efficient home for the Wyandotte County Family Support Center.
This summer Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas moved the support center out of 2220 Central to another building at 600 Minnesota (Sixth St. and Minnesota Ave.). The move was completed by the end of June.
Father Mark Mertes, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Kansas City Kansas, blessed the building on Sept. 18.
The building at 2220 Central was built by Archbishop Edward J. Hunkeler in the mid-1950s. It was the first “modern” chancery in the history of the archdiocese, and it centralized the growing administrative offices and ministries of the church in northeast Kansas. In the early 1990s, the archdiocesan chancery was moved to Savior Pastoral Center.
Next, the former chancery housed the administrative offices of Catholic Charities until 2007, when they were moved to 9720 W. 87th St. in Overland Park. The property then housed the Wyandotte County Family Support Center from 2007 to 2020.
The archdiocese now seeks to sell the building at 2220 Central, listing the price at $785,000.
The 25,700-square-foot building at 600 Minnesota has a basement, first floor and second floor. The new location offers several advantages, said Denise Ogilvie, chief mission officer for Catholic Charities.
“One of the advantages of this new space is that it is larger than 2220 Central,” said Ogilvie. “We have more room for staff and more classroom space. Also, it is more convenient. Many times, when people seek services, we make referrals to other agencies. At the location on Central, we were out there on our own. There weren’t any other social service agencies around us, but in downtown there are several.”
The new building is also on a bus route, which offers improved accessibility for Catholic Charities clients.
The Wyandotte County Family Service Center has offices for 55 Catholic Charities employees. It has conference rooms, classrooms and other spaces dedicated to offering services and programs. These programs and services are:
• The Family Support Center: short- and long-term case management to families who need assistance in the form of emergency services (rent and utility assistance), a clothing closet and a food pantry.
• Asset Development programing: a suite of financial education and strengthening programs consisting of VITA (Voluntary Income Tax Assistance); KLPP (the Kansas Loan Pool Program), which is the predatory loan refinance program); and FFT (Family Financial Transformations), which offers intensive financial education and mentoring.
• Workforce Development programing: St. Rita (employment and skills-based training and job placement); refugee and immigrant employment placement; and New Roots for Refugees, a farm training program.
• Refugee and Immigration Services: refugee resettlement and the La Luz Immigration Clinic (immigration legal services, citizenship classes, paperwork assistance, green card assistance and help with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals issues).
• Foster Grandparents: A program for low-income elderly who receive services and help students in local schools.
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