In 2003, Bobbi Jo Reed let nine women live in her home. This was the beginning of what would soon be known as Healing House, a recovery home for those struggling with addiction.
Located in the heart of northeast Kansas City, this faith-based organization had humble beginnings. Reed, a former drug user, felt a calling to help women from circumstances similar to hers: people with alcohol or drug addiction, incarceration and prostitution.
She invested all her time and money into a former nursing home, creating a safe place for recovering substance users.
Since that day, many more people have come, and Healing House has continued to grow. It has expanded from Reed’s residence to converted homes around the neighborhood.
Since 2003, thousands of people have passed through its doors, with 188 men, women and 30 children provided homes.
Healing House is a pillar of the local community, and its expansion has brought a gradual transformation of the area around it.
“When I got here, not three hours would pass without gunshots, and now it’s days without hearing gunshots,” Reed said. “Our property values have skyrocketed in this area, and I attribute that to God, absolutely, and to the work we have been doing.”
The work has been plentiful.
“This is a double-full-time job,” Reed said. “Basically it’s 24/7. Never ends. We put in about 18 hours every day.”
The Healing House not only houses those under its care, it also provides supplies, GED education, financial and career help, child care, counseling and recovery, and helps its residents fulfill community service requirements.
The organization reports an over 75 percent success rate for those that go through its program, with many who passed through working there today.
Yet with the ever-rising opioid epidemic, there are more and more addicts in need of care. The designated Recovery Community Center for Kansas City by the State of Missouri, Healing House has increasingly found its beds filled by those abusing opioids.
Yet, Reed remains hopeful.
“Substance abuse has always been a big issue, but now with the opioid epidemic it seems like addiction is finally getting the recognition it needs because people are dying every day from addiction,” said Reed.
As the current crisis increases the workload for Healing House, it is in need of help.
Reed cited a number of ways UMKC students could volunteer with her organization. Everything from fundraising, helping teach GED prep classes, to helping long-time addicts learn basic computer literacy, the Healing House has a variety of service and internship opportunities for charitable Roos.