A Home for the Homeless

With an estimated 2,000 homeless people in the Kansas City area, as well as homeless camps developing all across the city, the need for services and organizations has been a top priority. One corporation that has been an extreme help is Morning Glory Ministries, located in the heart of Downtown.

Multicolored+tents+for+the+homeless+sit+in+the+intersection+of+Westport+road+and+Southwest+Trafficway+April+1.+According+to+organizers%2C+this+encampment+is+meant+to+be+a+constant+reminder+to+the+public+until+city+leaders+start+addressing+Kansas+City%27s+homeless+problem.+photo+by+Katie+Massman

Multicolored tents for the homeless sit in the intersection of Westport road and Southwest Trafficway April 1. According to organizers, this encampment is meant to be a constant reminder to the public until city leaders start addressing Kansas City’s homeless problem. photo by Katie Massman

by Lily Sage, Opinion Editor

“I can just look at someone, see what they need and then I can actually help [them],” Morning Glory Ministries’ director of social media and volunteers Jen Tran said. “You just get to know the [people] really well at Morning Glory, like our guests really feel at home.”

Morning Glory Ministries, located in Downtown Kansas City, is a non-profit organization that works toward helping the homeless community continue to be part of society. Associated with the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Morning Glory has many roles when it comes to helping the community, like providing a safe place to stay as well as meals. The idea for Morning Glory began when a secretary who worked at the Cathedral noticed many unhoused people would come to the church to ask for food. 

“[The secretary] would make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and bring them to work, and if someone came and asked for food, she was prepared. And that kind of evolved into the [staff members] grilling around lunchtime, and anyone who needed a meal could come. So that’s kind of how we started serving food,” Tran said. “We serve breakfast, Tuesday through Friday, and then lunch on the weekends.” 

Tran used to be the coordinator for the Emergency Assistance Program, which along with the meal service, are the main aspects of Morning Glory’s service to the homeless community. During an Emergency Assistance meeting, a Morning Glory staff member talks face-to-face with a member of the homeless community in order to provide the basic necessities that person might need. 

“We always, like forever and ever, did emergency assistance and I think the coolest thing we do for [the program] is giving people their identification,” Tran said. 

Morning Glory’s staff helps those living on the streets find their birth certificates and a photo ID. Along with identification, the staff members can obtain certain licenses people might need for a job, like a food safety license so someone could work in a restaurant.

Junior CC McCullough is a member of the National Charity League (NCL) and has volunteered at Morning Glory over 5 different times through the organization. McCullough understands the effort the staff and volunteers give in order to serve each day.

“I think it’s just so amazing, how the people are willing to come and just help,” McCullough said. 

The organization has a huge outreach in the community—serving over 150 people each week—since they are one of the last shelters still operating in the heart of Downtown. One person in specific who Morning Glory was able to help through a rough period in his life was Greg Harris. Due to the help he received from this organization, Harris was able to completely turn his life around for the better. 

“I would live in a shelter for sleep at night, as well as [at] the golden dome Catholic Church on Broadway,” Harris said. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is the Catholic Church that Harris mentions; Morning Glory is connected and associated with this church. 

However, in response to Camp 6ixx, which is currently located right across the street from First Watch and Half Priced Books on Westport Road, Morning Glory is unable to provide the support that is needed. 

“If someone’s staying in Westport or using services around Westport, then [they’re] kind of out of our dominion,” Tran said.

The Kansas City Homeless Union (KCHU) holds the account @mwhomelesscollective on Instagram, and on the account, they describe themselves as “unhoused leaders and housed allies organizing to build collective power.” This account is responsible for sending out information and keeping the people of Kansas City updated. According to the KCHU, what started out as pop up warming tents has now expanded into a 30-tent camp. Camp 6ixx, along with a larger community right outside of City Hall, have been threatened and panic-stricken that they might be “sweeped,” or destroyed, by the Kansas City government. 

However, on April 8, KCHU was able to negotiate with Mayor Quinton Lucas’ office in order to provide housing and jobs for the unhoused community. According to the KC Tenant’s Instagram (@kctenants), the agreement came after KCHU staged a unparalleled two-month occupation on the lawn of City Hall.