Philanthropy

There’s No Place Like Home

SAVE, Inc.’s annual HomeComing event raises money to provide housing solutions.

Story by Riley Mortensen

Imagine that you’re living in the world with a disease or mental illness. Maybe substance abuse is your problem and you have nowhere to go and no one to turn to. This is a reality for a number of Kansas Citians, but organizations such as SAVE, Inc. are stepping in to help solve the problem.

SAVE, Inc.’s fourth annual event, fittingly titled HomeComing, seeks to raise money as it supports a mission of providing homes to those with HIV/AIDS, mental illness and substance abuse.

“Quite often those things work hand-in-hand,” says SAVE, Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Blaine Proctor, adding that the nonprofit has always believed that housing equals healthcare.

It all started in 1986 when SAVE, Inc. was opened as the first HIV/AIDS-specific hospice in the state of Missouri. The organizers were looking to give people suffering from the disease a place to spend their final days with dignity. As the years went by and HIV/AIDS was no longer a death sentence, the group’s mission expanded to include those with mental illness and substance abuse.

Now the nonprofit helps over 900 households meet their residential needs. What started as one donated home has turned into seven buildings and 66 apartments ranging from studio to three-bedroom apartments.

The organization also allows clients to find their own housing as the largest processor of housing vouchers in the state. On average, SAVE, Inc. spends $500,000 every month on rental assistance.

Operating on a referral system, Proctor says some people may require short-term assistance and only need help while they learn how to be housed, while others may stay with the group forever. “SAVE, Inc. allows residents to stay for as long as they want,” he explains, “however, we ask that clients pay 30 percent of their income. “

Supplemental services are also offered, for example, when dealing with the chronically or generationally homeless; staff and volunteers may teach clients to use a stove or thermostat or how to budget.

In addition, SAVE, Inc. provides emergency utility assistance, which is a frequent need, especially in the winter.

Fortunately, over the last few years, SAVE, Inc. has been able to more than double its staff as it has grown to help more and more people throughout the community. However, the organization won’t stop until homelessness is no longer a problem, says the CEO who has been serving the non-profit in one way or another for over 10 years.

“It’s really a joy to get up every morning and know that I’m going to go and be part of something that’s bigger than me,” Proctor says.

Help Others Come Home

Help SAVE, Inc. at HomeComing 2015: Downtown Funk with its mission while sampling cleverly crafted cocktails, delicious bites and bustin’ a move on the dance floor.

The event will be held from 8 p.m. to midnight on Friday, Nov. 6 at Pennway Place, 2500 W. Pennway in Kansas City, Mo. The evening will consist of cocktails courtesy of Cosentino’s and Dark Horse Distillery and food by delish! Catering. There will also be a silent auction and raffle, plus music from the KC All Stars. And don’t forget the HomeComing Coronation where winners will go home with gifts donated by Tivol. Tickets to the event are $75 in advance and $85 at the door.

For more information, visit saveinckc.org.