WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A big crowd celebrated the grand opening of new housing for survivors of domestic violence in Wichita.
Bluffview Place, near Harry and Hillside in south Wichita, is more than just affordable apartments. It’s designed to be safe, supportive, and most of all, a fresh start.
“This is like the culmination of a dream,” said Kit Lambertz of StepStone, at Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting.
A dream that took shape last fall, as StepStone and Mennonite Housing partnered to build 28 apartments designed just for victims of domestic violence by those who know the challenges all too well.
“I also grew up in public housing in Chicago, a single parent where my dad was the abuser,” said Sherdeill Breathett of Mennonite Housing. “He beat my mom, and to witness that, and at the age of 12, to finally be in a facility with hot running water, it’s a life changing experience.”
It begins with safety. The three apartment buildings, plus a central office and playground in the works, are surrounded by walls, a gate with controlled access, and security cameras. Counseling and classes will be offered on-site.
“If they need a GED, we can provide those, help them find jobs,” said Lambertz.
Families who qualify for the low-income housing will move in by December and can live at Bluffview Place up to two years.
Breaking the cycle of violence and starting over is something city councilman, James Clendenin, says he can relate to.
“It’s going to go help kids like I was have an opportunity to be in a safe environment, to go forward and to heal.”