Rooftop fundraiser to help KC homeless families surpasses goal - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

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Rooftop fundraiser to help Kansas City homeless families surpasses goal

The Kansas City Blues Rugby Club is camping out on the roof of the former Park Lane Hospital until $25,000 is raised for River of Refuge, a soon-to-open transitional living center. (River of Refuge/Facebook) The Kansas City Blues Rugby Club is camping out on the roof of the former Park Lane Hospital until $25,000 is raised for River of Refuge, a soon-to-open transitional living center. (River of Refuge/Facebook)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A fundraiser held to raise money for homeless families surpassed its goal.

An estimated 400 working families are living in motels with their children on any given night throughout the metro.

That is according to River of Refuge, which is trying to build a shelter to get those families out of motels and into a home of their own.

The nonprofit needed help making it happen, so they enlisted the Kansas City Blues Rugby Club to camp out on their roof.

River of Refuge is a soon-to-open transitional living center in the former Park Lane Hospital, 5155 Raytown Rd.

"This is a pivotal time for homelessness in Kansas City," said John Wiley, founder and president of River of Refuge. "We've been in the strategic planning stages at River of Refuge for the past couple of years all the while helping homeless working families living in motels find permanent homes one at a time."

The 15-member Kansas City Blues Rugby Club pledged not to leave the roof until they raise $25,000 for the shelter. They came down about 6 p.m. Saturday after learning they raised $29,000.

KCTV5 News first told you about River of Refuge on It's Your Morning last fall. The rugby team decided to raise money for the shelter because of that story. Click here to read more.

"We created a strong relationship with River of Refuge during our off-season this year and we're so excited to be working with an organization that is doing such good work," said Kansas City Blues Rugby Club president, Derek Mannell. "It's rewarding to be a part of something for which we can truly see lives being changed and an organization able to build something like these new apartments for local homeless families."

River of Refuge hopes to open 11 units in the building by the end of this year to fill them with homeless families. It needs to be renovated, which is pricey.

They recently put in a working fire sprinkler system throughout the building to bring it up to code. It cost more than $100,000.

One reason why the fundraiser is so important is because everything is done and run through community donations. If the money didn't come in, the work wouldn't be done.

Only families that show drive, determination and discipline will be allowed in the transitional living center. In addition, the head of the family must have a job, and they must make regular deposits in a savings account.

"We hope that when we open River of Refuge with the community's help, we can help reduce the burden on the area's family homeless shelters, which we know are already at capacity," Wiley said.

If you would like to help and make a donation, click here.

A web camera broadcasted live the activities of the teammates as they camp out on the roof and used social media to spread the awareness of their fundraising stunt. Click here for more information.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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