By Kevin Kelly
Catholic Key Associate Editor
KANSAS CITY — Finally, they are all under one roof.
But ask any Catholic Charities employee what they like best about their spacious new headquarters at Ninth Street and Main in downtown Kansas City, and they won’t mention the elbow room or the easy access to on-site records.
They will tell you that the best thing about moving into the old Merchants’ Bank building is that they will be better able to serve their clients in greater dignity than ever before, even better than they could from the sixth floor of the Catholic Center adjacent to the new space.
It is that spirit of service that has always made Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph great, said Bishop Finn.
“When I came to this diocese, I inherited what was already a legacy of great outreach and service to the poor,” Bishop Finn said after blessing the new headquarters.
“Over the 11 years I’ve been here, there have been two great directors in Mike Halterman and Deacon Dan Powers,” he said.
“While we will miss Catholic Charities as a tenant in our main building, we are glad they are giving a new face and new life to this building on Main Street,” he said.
“I am confident they will do tremendous work in the name of Jesus Christ,” he said.
Count on it, said Deacon Powers, who came to Kansas City in 2013 after service in the dioceses of San Diego, Calif., and Marquette, Mich.
“All the people who work for Catholic Charities are a blessing,” he said. “This is the most loving, dedicated staff I’ve ever been involved with.”
The 45,000 square feet of space in the three-level building will not only allow all Catholic Charities services and agencies to be located at one address for the first time in decades, it will also provide space for storage of emergency clothing and food supplies that Charities clients will be able to pick up on site.
The new headquarters is located directly across Ninth Street from the Kansas City Public Housing Authority offices, and one block south of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority Transit Center for city buses. In addition, bus stops are available at the front curb, and the city street car line under construction will one day run down Main Street.
In addition to providing the services it already provides, Catholic Charities also intends to use the new space to expand services and add new ones as needs arise, especially in the areas of combatting homelessness and food insecurity, preparing and helping clients find employment,financial stability and economic literacy.
Annually, Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph serves more than 150,000 people of all religions and ethnicities.