New $1.5 million Cross-Lines building opens

by Mary Rupert

A four-year fundraising project culminated with a ribbon-cutting today for a new Cross-Lines Community Outreach building on Shawnee Avenue.

The new $1.5 million, 10,000-square-foot building will serve as a thrift store, food pantry and commodities program, said Susila Jones, Cross-Lines executive director. Cross-Lines is at 736 Shawnee Ave. in Kansas City, Kan.

“It is our first new building in our 50-plus year history,” Jones said. Cross-Lines began in 1963.

Cross-Lines’ thrift store currently is on South 7th Street at Shawnee Avenue, and the agency’s administrative offices are in an old church building to the west of the thrift store. The new building is located directly to the west of the administrative office.

The commodities program serving low-income seniors with 1,200 boxes of food every month will be located at the building, along with the food pantry serving the needy, Jones said. A thrift store, which sells and also gives away items, will be located in the new building, also, she said.

Mayor Mark Holland, attending the ribbon-cutting, said Cross-Lines has stepped up in a big way, investing in its infrastructure and leadership so it could help more people for a longer period of time.

The community need is not diminishing, but the quality of this organization has really stepped up in a great way, he said.

The mayor recalled that his father was a colleague of the late Rev. Don Bakeley, who started Cross-Lines, and there was a vision for many churches to come together for a place to serve the needy.

“We need Cross-Lines to be strong, and the steps you’ve taken culminating in this building really makes a statement to the city as a whole, your donors as a whole, and also to the people in need,” he said. “The people who are coming here to Cross-Lines deserve this caliber of a facility.”

Brad Culver, chair of the capital campaign for the building, said Bakely brought a level of passion and integrity that is still here today.

There is an open house scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. tonight for the new building, at the corner of Shawnee Avenue and South Coy.

Speaking at the Cross-Lines ribbon-cutting ceremony today were, left to right, Susila Jones, executive director; Bard Culver, chair of the capital campaign; and Mayor Mark Holland. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Speaking at the Cross-Lines ribbon-cutting ceremony today were, left to right, Susila Jones, executive director; Bard Culver, chair of the capital campaign; and Mayor Mark Holland. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

The new Cross-Lines building is at Shawnee Avenue and South Coy in Kansas City, Kan. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
The new Cross-Lines building is at Shawnee Avenue and South Coy in Kansas City, Kan. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

The new Cross-Lines building is at Shawnee Avenue and South Coy in Kansas City, Kan. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
The new Cross-Lines building is at Shawnee Avenue and South Coy in Kansas City, Kan. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

Inside the new Cross-Lines building are large areas for storing food and commodities. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Inside the new Cross-Lines building are large areas for storing food and commodities. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

A few people dropped off sacks of groceries and placed them on the empty shelves at the new Cross-Lines building, which will include a food pantry. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
A few people dropped off sacks of groceries and placed them on the empty shelves at the new Cross-Lines building, which will include a food pantry. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

The existing Cross-Lines thrift store is at South 7th and Shawnee Avenue in Kansas City, Kan. The thrift store will be moving to the new building to the west. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
The existing Cross-Lines thrift store is at South 7th and Shawnee Avenue in Kansas City, Kan. The thrift store will be moving to the new building to the west.

Police headquarters evacuated after gas odor noticed

Kansas City, Kan., police headquarters at 7th and Minnesota Avenue was closed this morning as a possible natural gas leak was investigated.

According to information from the police, the building was evacuated when an odor of gas was detected.

The building has since reopened, after the Fire Department cleared it, according to police.

Kansas marketplace enrollment hits 25,000 in first month

by Meg Wingerter, KHI News Service

Close to 25,000 Kansans have signed up for health insurance through the online marketplace, healthcare.gov, despite uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act under a new administration.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service reported Wednesday that 24,778 people in Kansas had signed up for insurance since open enrollment for 2017 started Nov. 1. The number of people seeking insurance was up less than 2 percent compared to the same period during open enrollment last year.

President-elect Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which is the health reform law that created the marketplace and subsidies for low- and middle-income people to buy health insurance. Plans for replacing the law vary, although some proposals include maintaining a similar marketplace.

Nationwide, about 2.1 million people signed up for insurance in the first month, up nearly 5 percent from the same period in 2015. Slightly less than one-quarter of customers nationwide were new to the marketplace, according to CMS. Data on customer characteristics wasn’t available at the state level.

About 69 percent of Kansans purchasing insurance had an option that would cost less than $75 per month, according to CMS. About 80 percent of marketplace shoppers nationwide qualify for subsidies, according to CMS.

The lower-premium insurance plans might not be attractive to everyone, because they often include narrow hospital and physician networks and have high out-of-pocket costs. For some plans in Kansas, deductibles run as high as $12,000.

Despite the rise in out-of-pocket costs in recent years, fewer Americans reported struggling with medical bills in the first half of 2016 than five years earlier, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics.

In 2011, about 21 percent of Americans reported they lived in a household that struggled to pay medical bills. In 2016, that dropped to about 16 percent, indicating about 12 million fewer people were in families that considered medical bills a strain.

Still, about 46 percent of adults in 2015 said they worried whether they could pay their medical bills if they became ill or had an accident and 9 percent reported they had delayed care due to its cost, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Both rates were lower than in 2011, however, a trend studies attributed partially to a lower uninsured rate.

Open enrollment for 2017 ends Jan. 31, although people who want their insurance to start Jan. 1 have to sign up by Dec. 15. Assistance is available for those who want to compare plans and sign up.

The marketplaces were established in 2013 as part of the Affordable Care Act, which required most Americans to have health insurance as of 2014.

The nonprofit KHI News Service is an editorially independent initiative of the Kansas Health Institute and a partner in the Heartland Health Monitor reporting collaboration. All stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to KHI.org when a story is reposted online.

– See more at http://www.khi.org/news/article/kansas-marketplace-enrollment-hits-25000-in-first-month