Learn about the Healing House in Kansas City from founder Bobbi Jo Reed. With room for up to 200 individuals at a time the healing house provides transitional living for those it serves.
Whether you have been long struggling from addiction, abuse or are just getting back on your feet after incarceration, the Healing House provides opportunity to rebuild your life.
The Healing House started in 2002 off of Saint John Ave in a single house for 10 women. Since then, it has served over 10,000 individuals with an astounding 76% success rate.
Its ministry base has become a city block campus with store fronts, restoration centers, admin buildings and a community gym. To provide housing for its participants it has bought apartment buildings and 14 houses in once crime ridden neighborhoods.
Enough cannot be said about the incredible effects the Healing House has had on its neighborhood. Crime rates are down, the housing prices are way up and businesses are moving in. Wow!
Nathan Sack 00:00
A big thanks to Faith Horizons’ first sponsor Salvation Auto. Salvation Auto is a full-service auto repair and maintenance shop located in South Kansas City. My family has been taking our cars to Salvation Auto for three years now, and we could not be happier. It is great to have a local mechanic shop that shares our core values of honesty and integrity. With fair pricing and quick service, the team at Salvation Auto operate a business that adds value to Kansas City. If you need a trusted auto mechanic shop, I highly recommend Salvation Auto. To schedule an appointment, call 816-447-0218 again 816-447-0218. Thanks for joining us for another Faith Horizons podcast. The purpose of a Faith Horizons podcast is to discover the kingdom of God in Kansas City one conversation at a time. In this episode you will learn about the Healing House in Kansas City from founder Bobbi Jo Reed with room for up to 200 individuals at a time the Healing House provides transitional living for those it serves. Whether you have been long struggling from addiction, abuse or just getting back on your feet after incarceration, the Healing House provides opportunity to rebuild your life. The Healing House started in 2002 off of St. John Avenue in a single house for 10 women. Since then it has served over 10,000 individuals with an astounding 76% success rate. Its ministry base has become a city block campus was storefronts, restoration centers, admin buildings, and a community gym. To provide housing for its participants it has bought apartment buildings and 14 houses in once crime ridden neighborhoods. Enough cannot be said about the incredible effects the Healing House has had on its neighborhood. Crime rates are down, the housing prices are way up and businesses are moving in. Wow! Here’s my conversation with Bobbi Jo Reed. Today I’m with Bobbi Jo Reed of Healing House, which is located on 4505 St. John Avenue. Well, welcome.
Bobbi Jo Reed 02:28
Thank you. Thank you for having me. Glad to be here.
Nathan Sack 02:31
So just briefly, before we get started into this great big adventure of figuring out what you’re doing here, just give us a brief synopsis of you know what Healing House is, and you know, when it started and some of the things it’s doing.
Bobbi Jo Reed 02:46
Okay, so I started Healing House, officially in 2002. And I’m a person in long term recovery. I have 26 years right now. And when I got my life together, there were hardly any places for women to go, and I started hearing the message early on. And I figured out there were 900 women going through treatment here in Kansas City, Missouri with less than 30 safe beds. Yeah, people didn’t want to be bothered with all with women and their issues. So the Lord put on my heart to do something to start helping single women. You know, people have compassion when there’s a child involved. But when it was just a single woman is like, well, she made her bed let her lay in it, you know that mentality. And alcoholism or addiction is a disease. It’s not a lack of moral fiber first off. Everybody needs to understand that but so anyway, I bought an old nursing home in the inner city with an inheritance I got for my folks. And I thought I was going to help 10 women, stay, you know, learn to live a clean life and then the dope man moved in right next door two months later. And so eventually, I’d call the police. He had brandish weapons, gang members, I mean, just insanity, but I call the police few times he go in the house, close the door and lock it. And so I did. I called on somebody even better, I claimed his house in Jesus name. And a year and a half later, we got the dope man’s house. And we were full anyway. So the women just kept coming. And now I’ll fast forward currently, we’ve taken 14 abandon or drug houses in our community, and we’ve rehabbed them ourself, and turn them into beautiful homes. You know, every time a recovery house moves into a neighborhood, I don’t care how bad a neighborhood it is. Everybody says, oh, no, not in my backyard, right? But people have found in this community we’re the best neighbors to have. We’ll cut grass, we’ll shovel your snow we’ll do whatever what when we plant flowers, our houses are the nicest on the block. So we have to change that stigma of what people think people in recovery are. We’re not using, we’re getting our lives together. And we’re great people for the most part. Oh, so let’s see 14 homes we serve 200 people everyday adults, we have 30 apartments as well, we have-
Nathan Sack 05:12
So did the apartment serve the same thing or what are the apartments?
Bobbi Jo Reed 05:15
So it’s kind of an advanced, there’s beginners houses that are very structured, then once they get to work and complete their treatment component, or do all the classes, then they can move up to a little bit more advanced house. It’s a medium type house a little less structure, but still structure and then eventually they can go to an advanced house. And then they can go to one of our apartments if they like. But we also have a pregnant women’s home and a new mother’s home. So they kind of go high on our list to get into the apartments for them and when they get their child back. So we have also have a recovery community center here that helps anybody that off the street that has an addiction issue, we also give out free Naloxone for people that are dying of this stupid fentanyl, you know, and that’s been disguised by party drugs right now. So it’s, it’s you don’t even know you’re getting fentanyl. And it’s in almost everything weed. They found it in meth, it’s, it’s in everything. And then like I said, the designer party drugs, it’s in there too. So people are dying. So we can give that away free to people here we have daily groups, we have a family reunification room, job assistance anything. Here’s what happened. When I when I got to recovery, they told me go here and do this, go here and do this and go over there and do that. And I’m like, I’m already overwhelmed, just trying not to use anything today. And so what we have created, not that we want to be an island, but just to make it streamline and more comfortable for the people we serve, that they can come here and we’re going to walk with them through every step of the way. They’re gonna get hygiene products, they’re gonna get clothing their, we’re going to help them get doctor’s appointments, and then we’re going to take them to them and pick them back up. We’re gonna take them to get their ID and social security card. So when they come to us, all they have to come is with open minded a willing heart for real that’s it.
Nathan Sack 07:15
You guys help them find jobs, you guys, you know, help them get maybe some of the essential documents.
Bobbi Jo Reed 07:21
Every time, birth certificate, everything. Social security, most of the people we work with have lost their ID, social security card, they don’t have anything. You can’t get a job without that. So we help them do all of that. Many of our people if they need a prescription refill, they’re off their medications, or when they do need a refill. They go to the emergency room to get a refill. Well, that’s ridiculous. That costs the state tons of money. So we’re making sure they so we get them a gold card, which is free medical for Swope Parkway and Truman. And then we make sure they’re getting health care setup for their self on a regular basis.
Nathan Sack 07:57
So basically, what you’ve created here is kind of a from the bottom up. Yes, process Yes, of helping a person walk through the regrowth and beautification process of their life.
Bobbi Jo Reed 08:09
And we’re a family. Everybody calls me mom, they don’t have to, they just automatically do. And I love them. They’re my kids. I’m like a mama bear. I don’t care what you did yesterday. I don’t care what you’ve done in your past. You’re here today. And that’s all that matters to me. And I’m gonna love you till you can love yourself.
Nathan Sack 08:27
Amen. Amen. So, I got to watch the documentary, Bobbi Jo, Under the Influence, which just goes through the story of the creation of this, and also the story of you know, what you what you’ve been through to, to get a heart that was ready to do something like this. One of the things that, you know, Faith Horizons is really focused on is this restoring hope and prosperity to Kansas City. And so, you’ve been at the hopeless stage. Now you’re hopeful and so what does it take to go from hopeless to hopeful.
Bobbi Jo Reed 09:03
You know, I’ve just I went to AA for a while and AA was good for me. And that’s where I fit in when I first got into recovery. But along the journey, I believe we all have a God hole in the center of our being. And for me, you know, we tried to fill it up with you know, it could be a puppy when we’re a kid or a bicycle and the bicycle gets a flat tire or you know, we set ourselves up trying to put stuff in that God hole that doesn’t fit. And we might get have a boyfriend or girlfriend they break up with us. We might get married and that goes south, the car might get dented and then that void comes back in the center of our being and until I put God at the very center of my being I had no peace in my life. No wonder I mean, I’ve been through some horrific things. But you know from the beginning when I was young, I had low self-esteem and I felt hopeless even back then I never felt good enough. Never felt good enough until, if you watch a documentary, you’ll see it. But I got out of detox and once and then did treatment and then I started taking little hotel toothpaste and toothbrushes, little bars of soap down to the detox with some homemade baked goods that I would sell.
Nathan Sack 10:19
This was the KCC.
Bobbi Jo Reed 10:21
KCCC. It’s called Heartland now.
Nathan Sack 10:23
Okay, it’s called Heartland now.
Bobbi Jo Reed 10:24
And I’m telling you what when I started, addiction is a selfish disease. And so when I didn’t even know how sick I was really, I thought I was pretty good person, even in my addiction, but come to find out I was wretched. When Paul says, how vile-yes. And I try and I you know, I do the things I don’t want to do. It’s I was there, I was so broken. But when I would take those homemade cookies, and I would take those little motel hygiene products, you think you would have thought I was given people gold, and it sparks something in me and I got to sit there and talk to them and tell them what was happening in my life. And at first I did it because it made me feel good. But then I continued to do it because it just became the next right thing to do. And then ever since then, I’ve been on fire but at three and a half years my dad died one month before I got sober. And then I took care of my mom first three and a half years of my recovery. And eventually she passed away on December 30. I had a boyfriend living with me and two roommates, two of the roommates had relapse. I had started going to church just for the praise and worship part. I really didn’t like the preaching. Thank God for grace and mercy. So anyway. So I go out to get my mom’s urn, there were some people from the church, there was my boyfriend, and I came home. It was New Year’s Eve, and we were going to have something at the church and I walked in and my boyfriend was gone. And I thought he wouldn’t leave me now with my mom just dying. And so I drove out to the church, he wasn’t there. And it literally felt like my heart dropped down into my gut. And any other time I had anything really major happen I was able to anesthetize myself. And this time I had nothing. And I drove home crying and I got in my bed and I brought in the New Year praying to God to not let me go back where I came from. And to lead me and direct me.
Nathan Sack 12:24
This was on the, in the new year you said?
Bobbi Jo Reed 12:26
Yeah, it was December 31 of 1998. And I was just more humbly than I’d ever prayed. I had done some superficial praying, you know that God grant me the serenity and Our Father and but they didn’t really penetrate my heart too much. But that night, I know I fell asleep crying and praying. And when I woke up January 1 of 1999, the Holy Spirit had taken up residence in me. And I knew one thing about people with addictions, fear covers our life. Fear of being, you know, good enough, fear of being accepted, fear of money, fear of people, fear of everything. And when I woke up that morning, the fear was gone. You know what, and at first, I kept trying to take my will back, you know, I thought I was gonna get a hubby or something. And God just kept I had asked Him to lead and direct my path. And He sure did. And then I finally thought, okay, this is just easier following Him. And when He put something on my heart just to follow directions, you know, and I’ve been following Him ever since. And you can watch a movie. I’ve been through it. But you know what all the things I’ve been through, have made me as a woman I am today. And they prepared me for to have a servant’s heart. And I’m the luckiest girl in the world. I get to serve Christ every day. It’s not really a job. I serve Christ every day. And guess what- well all day all night. And then I get to I see people literally come in and there’s no light behind their eyes. And they’re spiritually and almost physically dead sometimes. And then you get them cleaned up and you get them some new clothes on and they get some good night’s rest and some good food in their tummy. And before you know it, this light starts coming on very dimly. And within a week, two weeks, they’re shining brightly. And then eventually, you can see the Holy Spirit just shining through. I get to live around miracles every day. Not everybody gets to say that.
Nathan Sack 14:28
Yeah, that’s so true. Very cool. So would you say like part of like a hope recovery because it’s really what it is, you know, there’s hope recovery, you know, part of hope recovery. I was just listening to what you were saying. It’s almost like you had to restart your heart. Like you had to restart your heart again, you had to start you know, buying the little small things for the people just start serving others you know, that restarted your heart and then also there, then you’re getting feedback from the people that you’re giving it to that oh my God, you know, I’m being and I think you even talked about in the documentary you said, maybe I could be good at something. Maybe I could be good at something. Because you know, before that you’re, you’re dealing with insecurity and other fears which led you into a life of pursuing something. Which got you into, into darkness that you didn’t ever want to be in.
Bobbi Jo Reed 15:19
I wanted to be comfortable inside my own skin. And I never was, until when I took alcohol and drugs that ease the uncomfortableness of being in my own skin. And now, I’m a whole lot older and chubby. But you know what, I love myself. And I know that. I know, God loves me. And I know I’m His creation. And you know what, I used to be in awful relationships. I mean, as long as I had a man, even if it was a crappy man, I was okay. And I am in the best relationship I’ve ever had in my life. And that’s with God and Jesus Christ, my, my, you know, my salvation. Some days around here we live, we deal with life and death every day, honestly. And people that are very hurt and broken and been through a lot of trauma. And so it, it can get to you. But you know what, no matter what circumstance comes up, I know, God’s right there with me. And He’s got control of it. I don’t have to freak out. I don’t have to, you know, I just okay Lord, and you know what, I’ll be praying under my breath. I’ll go to the bathroom, I’ll pray and try to bring calm to the situation. But I really, God doesn’t speak to me audibly. God speaks to my heart. And when I first started, you know, I’m going to help 10 women. And so it’s my purpose that God created me. That’s a blessing. Not many people get to say that I’m doing what I was created for. And there’s not an ounce of doubt. In my mind, this is what I was created for.
Nathan Sack 16:53
Yeah, you know, there’s a scripture in the Bible, it says, delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Once you start delighting yourself in what God is doing, then He gives you the desires of your heart. But really, it’s kind of interesting because the desires of your heart become His desires.
Bobbi Jo Reed 17:12
Right. When your heart is for Him, He will give you the desires of your heart. Absolutely.
Nathan Sack 17:19
But His desires are what become your heart. So this whole Healing House thing is like a partnership with the Lord’s heart for a people first and then a neighborhood. And just the whole entire healing process of walking somebody through, like, from the bottom up.
Bobbi Jo Reed 17:36
Absolutely. And, you know, when I got to this neighborhood, it was very scary place. Gunfire every three hours. There were drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes, gang members all up and down our streets.
Nathan Sack 17:49
This is 2001 or 2002?
Bobbi Jo Reed 17:53
2001. We celebrate actually, we’re having our 20 year celebration this November 12.
Nathan Sack 18:00
Oh, wow. Congratulations, 20 years!
Bobbi Jo Reed 18:04
Why, yes, it is. That’s when I signed for the first house. We found that paperwork, so I guess it has was 2002. And, you know, and it was very scary. And I just kept claiming a hedge of protection around me and my family. And then we got the second house and you know, then women started coming in that were pregnant. We had no room for babies in the houses because we had women. And so I started peeking in an abandoned apartment building a half a block away. And by golly, the first house I bought for 50 appraised for 194,000. Second house I got for 37,000. It appraised for 186,000, which gave me something called equity. It was incredible. I never had that behind my boxcar. So-
Nathan Sack 18:56
You have to watch the documentary.
Bobbi Jo Reed 18:58
Yes. Yes, yes, yes. And I, you know, I’m not a business person. I am a servant of God. And He, this whole thing is not Bobby Jo’s or Healing House’s. It is God’s because there’s no way this could have happened in 20 years. We have over 20 locations. It couldn’t have happened without- it’s all His. All I get to be steward of it. And I love it. It’s like my baby and all the people here I love. We have 50 employees. 48 are in recovery. 46 have came through this program and now work here. So almost everybody. We got a couple of normal people. We keep them around, you know? We love them, so it’s incredible. And we get even people that worked here. We’re in a recovery community. We’re part of a family. And so you’re serving God and you’re working hard every day, but it’s for the greater good.
Nathan Sack 20:00
Yeah, we got to talk with your brother Greg. And one of the things that he said is that because you you’re able, because most of the staff have been handpicked from the people who have come through the program, they understand the culture. And so what you’ve done is you’ve created a culture that’s duplicating itself.
Bobbi Jo Reed 20:21
Yes and so I mean, it’s so it goes, we get our success rate right now is 76%, which is unheard of.
Nathan Sack 20:30
That is incredible. Unheard of.
Bobbi Jo Reed 20:32
Yes, totally unheard of.
Nathan Sack 20:37
That’s people who start your program and then come through the program and are successfully re- integrating with society, getting jobs, moving on, getting married.
Bobbi Jo Reed 20:49
Having kids, business owners, and then they hire our people. So that’s a very high success rate. Now, do some come back? Yes. Do some fall back in their addiction? Periodically, that happens. But we do equip them with the tools even if somebody comes here and they got a nasty attitude. And really, their heart’s not in it. They’re here for the wrong reason. And they leave us or get exited. When they get serious, we’re the first place they think about I want to go back to Healing House. During the winter months, we turn away up to 100 people a week. It is, it’s easier on the phone, then when you got a grown man across the desk, crying and begging, I’m going to die if you don’t let me in. So we always need housing. We’re getting ready to start. Tomorrow, we’re going in and cleaning out a house we got not long ago. And it’s going to be named the Erin Langhofer house, which is the I don’t know if you guys remember. But the little girl that was hit by a stray bullet and killed on First Friday a couple years ago. So she was a caseworker at Rose Brooks battered women’s shelter. And so this is going to be a house for single moms with one child. And then we’re going to have trauma informed care specialists working there with the children. Because the children have been exposed to trauma if they’ve been in an addictive household. And then parenting classes and really equip these women and children to be successful and say, go on from there. So it’s, you know, our ladies. It’s in the 90 percents of our women that had been victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, right. I mean, it’s common with people that have addiction issues. So we have, we have classes for programming for anything. I mean, we had parenting class, six weeks parenting class, domestic violence. We have banking issues, our daily groups, we have eight hours of programming during the day.
Nathan Sack 22:55
That’s incredible. Yeah. And that’s what you’re talking about. For those first two, three, second tiers. There’s structure, programs, and classes. And you have to be here at this time.
Bobbi Jo Reed 23:08
Yes, it’s very, you’re very accountable. And that’s what people need. If they have too much time on their hands, they’re going to start thinking, and our best thinking got us into our addiction, right? So we keep them very busy. And it’s fun during the day. They’re not just listening to classes about recovery. They’re doing art therapy, they’re doing improv. They’re making works of art. We, Healing House won three of the top four prizes for Department of Mental Health arts fair this year. Yeah, statewide. And then let’s see what else. They do budgeting classes, they do outings to the museum. I mean, so it’s a mixture. You’re not just sitting in class.
Nathan Sack 23:51
So it’s a healing, it’s a healing community.
Bobbi Jo Reed 23:53
Absolutely. And guess what, you don’t have hobbies when you’re in your addiction. So we put this whole buffet out in front of people, so they can see what they’d like to do.
Nathan Sack 24:04
Yeah, I’ve come through I mean, I, I haven’t gone through anything to the level that you guys have gone through down here, but I have I’ve had my own traumas, you know, because we get stuck either in fear or insecurity or hate hating ourselves, you know, for whatever reason, you know, and so as you’re going through those, you know, the trauma recovery thing. One of the first things that I noticed that started coming back was I started getting interested in hobbies. Woodworking or just doing something. It’s like the first thing the enemy wants to crush. He wants to crush your creative spirit.
Bobbi Jo Reed 24:38
He does. He wants to crush us in general.
Nathan Sack 24:42
Yeah, he wants to steal, kill and destroy but the creative spirit which is the primary, one of the first characteristics that you’ll read about in the Bible, is a God created the Heavens, the Creator. We are created in the image of the creator. So that art that, that thinking, the planning, the creative becoming an entrepreneur, you know, creating a beautiful life, you know, having kids-
Bobbi Jo Reed 25:07
Right, yes. And they get that here. They haven’t been able, you know, I tell people tell me all the time. You know what, I haven’t noticed the sky or trees or birds for 10 years. Now I can see the blue sky I’m, but we don’t we’re so stuck. We don’t see the beauty because we’re stuck in this hole, you know. And I’m telling you what we have. Well, we have a book of poetry that was written by the folks that live here, we’re getting ready to do our second book of poetry. So we have a poetry teacher that comes in and teaches that so yeah, we already have one book that’s been published. And we’re working on the second one. Just open your mind.
Nathan Sack 25:57
That’s incredible. The little creative things that you know, society, especially in Kansas City, we are the art city.
Bobbi Jo Reed 26:02
Oh, yeah. Yeah. Our folks are talented, too very talented. And some of the most creative people that you’ll find. You know, if he looked back in the older days, some of the really creative folks had some other issues going on. It might not been addiction, but it was issues in so we find, oh, people have beautiful skills and talents that just flourish here.
Nathan Sack 26:30
That just go dormant when they’re step up against an obstacle, such as substance abuse or, or you know, like even childhood trauma that they’re dealing with, which is usually results in substance abuse.
Bobbi Jo Reed 26:43
Absolutely. Absolutely. When I started the houses, and I don’t consider myself a painter, but I used to paint all and every, the first three houses, I faux painted the entire the entirety of the house in every room, and they were different colors, but I painted the base color. And then I did the rag with the mixture on it. And so it looked like suede almost, it’s really warm. It looks like suede. And it was just every house that we have. Every apartment we have I decorate, and they’re beautiful. And when people walk in, they just feel at home. And it’s beautiful. And some of them have never had a beautiful room that matched and where they felt like, ah, you know.
Nathan Sack 27:39
You feel, you feel valued. Well, you feel valued, but also you can let down your guard. I mean, that’s a big issue to overcome is these people have a guard.
Bobbi Jo Reed 27:51
Yeah. And rightfully so you have to. When you’re in the jungle, you have to. Oh my gosh, yes, it was a jungle, and it’s survival of the fittest out there. And so a lot of people will we take people from Department of Corrections, they’re not bad people, they’re people that have made some poor choices due to their addiction. But you know, so you got to be hard in prison, you got to be hard in the streets to survive. And we get him here. And it doesn’t take long that those walls start coming down. It’s like peeling an onion, right? You got this exterior that doesn’t have much value, but it’s protecting the inside. So we start taking layers of that onion off until we can get to the core stuff. And that’s what we have to get to. It’s not just don’t drink, don’t do drugs. It’s a whole lot deeper than that. It’s every part of our being and in our addiction. So whenever we start using drugs or alcohol is where developmental skills and coping skills stop.
Nathan Sack 28:55
You said that in the documentary started, you started not being able to think clearly and not making the right decisions.
Bobbi Jo Reed 29:01
Well, that was after I got sober. So whenever you start using that age is where you quit maturing emotionally. So I we get a lot of 12 year olds in here, right? You could be wrapped in a 40-year-old body, but you’ve got a 12-year-old still in you. So when you know, get your way you want to throw a little fit and have little hissy fit, you know, and but they told me would take minimally one month for every year that I was in my addiction to start making better choices. So for me, I was out there 22 years. So that meant a couple years before I could start making good decisions.
Nathan Sack 29:44
And would you say that was true?
Bobbi Jo Reed 29:46
Yep, at least, at least, it takes took my brain that much time. We don’t even allow people to come in unless they’re obligating to three months, because it takes-that’s just when it’s really starting to take effect.
Nathan Sack 30:04
It’s true, so 90 days.
Bobbi Jo Reed 30:07
It’s just the basics, the basics, that’s just the basics.
Nathan Sack 30:10
And do they have to sign for that or make some type of commitment?
Bobbi Jo Reed 30:15
We asked them to, but you know, people are gonna do what they’re gonna do. But you know, most of people that make it here two weeks are good to go.
Nathan Sack 30:23
Because you’ve already begun to get to their heart level.
Bobbi Jo Reed 30:26
Yeah. But if they if they run out in those first two weeks, you know, they’ll call us later when they’re done.
Nathan Sack 30:34
When they’re ready to come home.
Bobbi Jo Reed 30:36
Yeah, that’s what they do. I tell you what, I, I leave, I’ve left my phone on. I quit wearing a watch when you used to wear watches. Because I figured out I was no longer on the world’s time. But I was on God’s time. And when things came up, I had an emergency circumstance. I had stuff coming up all the time. And if somebody’s in crisis, that’s what I’m doing right now. Hey, guess what? I’ll be late doing that. So I’m going to do this. And so my cell phone has been on for the last 20 years. 24 hours a day. And you know, I had people call me, I had this little redhead, just beautiful girl. I love her. Her mama, both of her parents were junkies, heroin addicts. And on Friday, they would put her in a closet. Well, one of their Rummy friends got a hold over and raped her when she was very young, seven years old. And so they thought they didn’t want to stop partying. So they started locking her in the closet where nobody could get to her for the weekend. And then they would let her out. She still be filthy and she go to school. Then they ended up both dying eventually. But she never had any parenting skills. And she had had children by the time she got to us. But she was here for a while she went back out. And just four foot eight blonde, beautiful red hair, just a little doll. And she would call me while she was gone. And in the middle of the night and she’d say, her little voice would be cracking. And she’d say, Mom, and I’d go yeah, baby. And she said, can I come home? I’m like, yeah, baby. Are you ready? And she’s like, no, I just want to make sure you’re still there. And I can come home when I need to.
Nathan Sack 32:21
People need to know there’s a place they can go. Wow, that’s that’s one of the things you’ve done here with this community is you’ve created a place where they can come home to, like you said.
Bobbi Jo Reed 32:31
Honey, I’ve taken off in the middle of the night in my night gown to go get people you know, whatever it takes no boundaries, no boundaries. It’s just it’s serving God with all that you’ve got.
Nathan Sack 32:46
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One of the things you had said about was the just making these houses as presentable as possible, making them home, making them feel warm, you know. And in the Bible, it talks about Thy Kingdom Come on earth as it is in heaven, you know, and so you take that little bit of heaven that you can give these people you know, and it becomes their surrounding, like if they’re living in a drug lifestyle, you know, the house might not be cleaned, the the grass isn’t mowed, you know. Things like that are really things that begin to permeate our spirits. They permeate our spirits. So you give them a stable environment so that they can begin their journey to full recovery.
Bobbi Jo Reed 34:21
Absolutely, our houses are beautiful.
Nathan Sack 34:23
It’s that kingdom of heaven on earth. I mean, you’re an ambassador, and this is the designs of heaven.
Bobbi Jo Reed 34:29
I mean it you can feel the Lord’s presence and unfortunately I’ve almost worked myself out of business. So because I used to be able to buy houses down here because it was so bad. Really cheap. 20, you know 30,40 $50,000. And now the cheapest house you can find is $190,000 that’s the cheapest house. And most of them are a quarter of a million.
Nathan Sack 34:58
But that, that goes to-
Bobbi Jo Reed 35:00
I know, now I can’t afford the house.
Nathan Sack 35:03
But that goes to a neighborhood that has been restored. And I mean, I mean, this has definitely been a part of that neighborhood restoration.
Bobbi Jo Reed 35:13
Absolutely. And I’m so excited about the strip mall. And I didn’t want a strip mall, but it had four family apartments upstairs. And this is not in the movie, but it’s a great story. Do you want me to tell it?
Nathan Sack 35:26
Yeah, sure. So they there’s a strip mall. That’s right across the street from the administrative building for Healing House, which is at 4505 St. John’s Avenue. And they there’s a strip mall right across the street.
Bobbi Jo Reed 35:41
And so the- our recovery community center that holds 350 people, there’s a smoking patio off the back because a lot of people still use nicotine when they get here. And so our and then there’s the wooden fence. And then there’s the back of this strip mall. And so there’s a tattoo shop there. And all the people working there were out in back getting high. And my people were on the other side of the fence trying not to use anything. So I went over to the tattoo shop and I said to the owner, I said, could you guys please quit smoking weed back there. It’s triggering people. And he told me, whatever lady move around. Move around, I thought, well, that was rude. So anyway, so this is God. So not two weeks later, I get a call from a guy from New York. And he said, I’m so and so. And he said, I know you don’t know me. But I hear you’re doing great things in northeast. And I have a building down there. By your properties. It was the strip mall. And he said, would you be interested in buying it? I’m like, we can’t afford it. And he said I’ll finance. Ding, ding, ding, ding ,ding. You know, somebody’s going to finance. So I said, I don’t know. Let me talk to my board. Well, there were four family apartments upstairs, and we need apartments. So they’re like, yes, let’s go for it. So you know, I’m a little onery. I’m a Christian, but I am a little onery.
Nathan Sack 37:10
You’re an onery Christian.
Bobbi Jo Reed 37:11
I am, I’m the first to tell you.
Nathan Sack 37:12
Probably learned that from the Lord Jesus Christ himself.
Bobbi Jo Reed 37:15
Yes, I make it a little fun. It’s so I go, I redo the lease for the tattoo shop. I go over there. And I go to the same guy. And I said, honey, I’m your new landlord. Now I wish I would have had one of those head cameras on. That look on his face was priceless. I said, honey, you’re gonna need to sign this new lease. No illegal druggies on or about the property or you will be evicted. And he just looked kind of stunned. And I said well, you can sign it, but of course if you don’t want to you can move around. You know, occasionally we get one of those touché for God moments. That was it. That was it.
Nathan Sack 37:59
And God always sets them up.
Bobbi Jo Reed 38:00
Yes! And so we’ve been redoing the strip mall. We’re, we’ve got a full service, beauty salon and spa, that is going to be helping the women coming back from Vandalia prison because they get their cosmetology degree in there. But nobody’s going to hire him right out of prison. And so they’re going to be able to have their own booth and build up their clientele and then move on from there. And it’s going to bless our community. Yeah, we’re putting in a café, a juicery and a coffee house.
Nathan Sack 38:32
Yeah. And I was just having this discussion with another couple too, you know. These coffee- you don’t find coffee houses in poor neighborhoods, you don’t. And it’s one of those things like a coffee house you think well, what’s the value of a coffee house? A coffee house is a place where you can meet. You can do some work. You can socialize with another person, you can meet another person other than at your house. It it’s like a it’s like a true connector point.
Bobbi Jo Reed 38:57
It is yeah. And that’s- we have a gym.
Nathan Sack 39:01
Oh, that’s a cool part too. Yeah, we need to mention that.
Bobbi Jo Reed 39:04
Yeah, we have a free gym to our community and we have 500 native members. And so that’s- we only have 200 people that live in our community. So that’s how many in our housing. So that’s how many from our surrounding neighborhood. That’s the neighborhood. I mean, 380 are neighbors. And so it’s all to me, it’s about bringing everybody together. It’s like God told us to live right? We live together we share what we got. So we’re gonna have a juicery in there. Now I don’t drink all those healthy kelp drinks, let me just tell you. But I guess there’s an art to it that you mix these greens, smoothies with protein powder and all that.
Nathan Sack 39:50
You put cucumbers and tomatoes and then you put that in with the strawberries.
Bobbi Jo Reed 39:55
Yes, I’ll take a malt, but so we’re gonna be doing the healthy drinks, the smoothies that go along with the gym and exercise, and then we’re gonna have food there. And then coffee, we’re even put in a little stage. I anticipate this being a place where younger people can hang around on a Friday, Saturday night, people get up and you know, praise and worship music people, young people sit around having fun getting-
Nathan Sack 40:31
Some new garage band that needs a place to play, practice.
Bobbi Jo Reed 40:35
Yeah, it’s going to be a little stage show probably something, karaoke. And this is cool. So you know, we’d live in a place that’s brick and mortar not, I mean, it’s a lot and not a lot of greenery down in our neighborhood, some. But we’re gonna have an outdoor patio and seating. So you can grab your coffee, go back on the deck and be and JE Dunn is putting in a memorial garden back there. So you’ll be able to go hang out, we’re going to take that fence down between our recovery community center and that, so it’s going to be this just big, open nice place. And we don’t have that down here a place to go outside and eat. We’ll have the heaters out there. And we’ll have you know, umbrellas, it’ll be so cool. It is our little heaven.
Nathan Sack 41:29
So one of the things I was gonna say, you know, like healing, so healing, you keep bringing up healing, you know, Healing House, you know. Kansas City, you know, if you look at it a God perspective, Kansas City has so many prophetic words that talk about Kansas City’s healing gifts. And we’re not just talking about physical healing. We’re talking about the heart healing. And we are in the heartland. We’re in the heartland. So this is where God deals with things of the heart, you know, clearly Healing House dealing with the things of the heart. So like, you talk about, you know, these people are coming in and their, their heart is being healed and whether they decide to stay or they decide to go start families, you know, they’re taking a piece of that heartland and that healing with them. It’s incredible, I mean, it’s like an oasis.
Bobbi Jo Reed 42:09
It is. Well, there’s been over 10,000 come through in the last 20 years, and I guarantee you, everyone have had had the experience of meeting Christ, and the seeds have been planted. And I tell you what I call historic northeast, a lot of people call it a lot of different things. But I call it the heart of Kansas City. Our community is so diverse down here, we have all nations. I mean, it’s-
Nathan Sack 42:37
We really do.
Bobbi Jo Reed 42:41
I know. But you know, in our gym, we have members coming in, that don’t speak any. They’re from Africa. They’re from Saudi, they’re from all over the country. And they come in and like our personal trainer shows them what to do on the equipment. And then they mimic it, you know, things that we’re doing, you don’t need to speak in language, because you know, what a smile speaks 1000 words, right? Or just being friendly with somebody in our community. I mean, it’s, it’s incredible, when I can tell somebody about it all day long. But if you come down and see it-
Nathan Sack 43:22
Yeah, I mean, I, this is my first time down here. And so I you know, I’ve just experienced it, they have a very large Admin Building, you know, where they receive, you know, donations of, you know, bedding and, you know, things to facilitate houses. This is what you know, because you’re building and facilitating houses, they’ve got it. They’ve got the recovery community, I mean, recovering community center- is that you call it- Recovery Community Center, which is that’s where they’re doing all that and they got the gym. They just, it’s just built an oasis down here. And it’s just really it’s kind of astounding. And, you know, I’ve been listening to this this book, it’s called Strong Towns. I don’t know if you’ve ever read the book called Strong Towns, but he just talks about how strong towns they build out incrementally. They don’t build out in big chunks. You can’t have built this overnight. No, this was built upon one need addressing another need addressing another need one upon another, then building out the program for that, finding the right person to facilitate those programs. I mean, and like you said, 46 out of the 50 staff members are from the immediate community or went through the program. Wow. You can’t build this overnight. This happened, you know-
Bobbi Jo Reed 44:39
It’s all been God. You know, at first I thought it was gonna be housing and you know, going to meetings with these women and leading by example, and that was my little finite plans, right. God had something else in store for me. And you know, there’s been many times I’m telling my board, okay, we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do that. They’re like, wait a minute, we don’t have any money. But my daddy does. And yeah. And so they usually just shake their head and say, here she goes again. But what has happened is God has continued to show me greater needs. It’s not just about housing and food, and some recovery meetings. It’s about recovery, yes, but it’s about matters of the heart and brokenness. And trauma and all that stuff. And like we’ve talked about, this is a safe place for people to start, you know, it took me a year and a half to name Healing House. And the reason I did people said, call it St. John’s, I’m like, no, that’s not creative. We’ll call it Bobbi Jo’s House. And so what I seen it took a year and a half. And what I continue to see is not only people being physically healed, but spiritually and emotionally healed.
Nathan Sack 46:01
It’s the most important, it’s the foundation aspect.
Bobbi Jo Reed 46:05
And that’s where the name came from. I just kept seeing people literally healed in front of me. And I’m like, that’s the name. That’s what’s taking place here. You know, it’s healing. And it just incredible.
Nathan Sack 46:19
And part of that healing, like you’ve we’ve talked about in this podcast is, you know, you deal with a person that just comes in, they have a substance abuse issue. They they’re broken down. They’re at the bottom, you know, they’re, hey, I need help. You know, they come in, and then, like, you said, that first two weeks is just reestablishing a love culture with them. We love you, we care about you, you can let your guard down, you know, that’s really essential. And then, and then and then comes this, like, you know, you said they have to sign up for like, three months comes as birthing, rebirthing process of their dreams of who they are. That’s like that spiritual aspects of those things that actually make a human being who we are. Right, you know, we’re, you know, we’re made in the, in the image of Christ, created in the image of Christ. Image of God, you know.
Bobbi Jo Reed 47:03
Our minds are so I guess, so fractured when we get here. And it says, in some 12 Step literature, it said, we can no longer differentiate the true from the false, we been living a lie.
Nathan Sack 47:18
So our lie has become our truth.
Bobbi Jo Reed 47:21
Our truth, and we’re just stuck. And we lie for no reason just to be lying. And so there’s so many things we have to break through. And it takes one day at a time. And it takes a lot of you know, I can’t pay my staff really what McDonald’s pays. It’s awful, it’s awful. I mean, and we have no benefits. And you know what, but that means everybody that works here is passionate about working here. They’re not here- because we can’t afford. We’re for real non for profit. And everything that comes in, goes right back out to the people we serve in improving our properties. And it- and so people are here because they have a passion to be here. Sure not the money. None of us.
Nathan Sack 48:14
So awesome. Well, thank you so much. So if people wanted to learn more about the Healing House, what is the best way for them to do that?
Bobbi Jo Reed 48:20
Okay, well, you can always go to our website, and that’s healing house kc.org. Somebody copied our name. So make sure you got the KC on there. Yeah, down in one of the little towns. So healing house kc.org.
Nathan Sack 48:38
I’ll make sure to put that on the show notes.
Bobbi Jo Reed 48:41
And then you could go on there. If you want to come into our program, there’s a tab you can click on it says, join us or apply now. And you can read about Healing House. Also, our phone number is 816-920-7181. And then the other thing is, if you have a loved one or somebody that you know, or have suspicion that is using opioids, and or they might be just experimenting with some type of drugs, we have free Naloxone here. And you don’t have to show an ID. So if your name is Joe Smith, you can come in and pick up some of the naloxone. The important thing for us is to get it that Narcan we have to get it out in people’s hands. My mother overdose she was a cancer patient. She accidentally took 960 milligrams of morphine, one morning or oxy. And so they use Narcan on her but she almost died. So if you have a loved one, it’s on opioid medication and is getting confused this should be in everybody’s house. It’s a nasal spray, you can’t get high from it. If you come in and get it the lady at the desk will even tell you briefly how to use it. So you can come and get that free here at 4505 St. John Avenue. And over at the recovery community center, that’s open to everybody if you have addiction issues that’s open from 7:30 in the morning till 4:30 every day.
Nathan Sack 50:16
Wow, that’s incredible. And, and I heard from Greg that, you know, you guys even you guys even have like community dinners and lunches. And it’s community. It’s like, if you’re in the neighborhood-
Bobbi Jo Reed 50:25
Yeah, come, come through, join us. We don’t we’re not a feeding shelter. But if you want to come through and hang out with us that day or do a few of the classes and join us for lunch. Like tonight, it’s a Friday night, we have Alpha, which is beginners Christianity, but we have dinner, then we have a band, then we have a speaker. And then we break into 10 groups of 30. They’re called small groups. We have to use both buildings. 300 people is a Bible study on Friday nights, and it and then we have recovery birthdays after that. And you know, if you just think about that, that’s 300 people that are changing their lives that are there every Friday night. So people are welcome to come join us for that you will, you know, I had people come and visit and they’ll say things like, I’ve never felt the Holy Spirit so strong in my life, or I haven’t felt the Holy Spirit like this since I’ve been at the holy land or in Africa. So God is on the move. And you can feel His presence. So anybody is welcome to join us. Most stuff. We have domestic violence classes, we have parenting classes, anything that you Spanish speaking, recovery meetings, anything that you might need, is here if you want to get better.
Nathan Sack 51:45
So if somebody who’s outside of the community, you know, maybe they’re a church or a different, or they’re just a active Christian in Kansas City, if they wanted to get involved, is there any way that they could get involved?
Bobbi Jo Reed 51:56
Yeah, you can go to our website, and there’s volunteer information on there. You fill that out, and then we’ll get back to you. We also take gently used clothes. A lot of people come in with the Price Chopper sack. And people returning from incarceration have a clothes literally on their back. Nothing else. And so we take gently used clothes, we take nice furniture, because we have 30 apartments and 14 houses. Yeah, so we take nice furniture, just anything that you could use, it’s still in good condition. We take all that if it’s furniture, we even have a donation truck that can pick it up.
Nathan Sack 52:35
So that just like, just like Habitat for Humanity. Just call them up and they can come do the Healing House truck can come pick it up.
Bobbi Jo Reed 52:42
Yes. And it’s a very cool, we just had the truck wrap. So it looks really cool.
Nathan Sack 52:47
I saw it as I was coming in.
Bobbi Jo Reed 52:51
Purple and teal.
Nathan Sack 52:54
And so it also there’s a I’m sure there’s a donate button on the website, if somebody’s just wanting to give directly to the ministry and what you guys are doing down here.
Bobbi Jo Reed 53:03
Absolutely. We all you know, we always need financing, because the work we’re doing, our people come in with nothing. So they sure as heck can help with bills at first, so-
Nathan Sack 53:13
So if there’s anything like if I could ask you like if there is something that you would like ask for prayer for like, it’s something that you’re like a main obstacle right now that you guys are trying to overcome? What would you ask for prayer for?
Bobbi Jo Reed 53:26
I’d ask for prayer for just for God to continue to have a hedge of protection around our ministry, and all that, that live here. You know, sometimes you come under attack for different root. Well, not sometimes. Satan has tried to knock me out of the box since the beginning. For real. And so you know, they’re spiritual attacks. And I don’t talk to that with my kids about but you know, there’s always something coming up. So just a hedge of protection around all of us here in Northeast and all my kids. I love them.
Nathan Sack 53:58
Well thank you so much. And thank you for being on the Faith Horizons podcast.
Bobbi Jo Reed 54:01
Thank you so much for having me. It’s been great.
Nathan Sack 54:05
What a great interview. It was really a pleasure of mine to interview Bobbi and learn some of what the Healing House has been up to these past 20 years. To learn more about the mission, please visit their website healing house kc.org. If you’d like to learn more about Bobbi’s incredible backstory, you can watch her documentary. It’s called Bobbi Jo: Under the Influence. I will include a link to the website and the video in the show notes. Thanks for listening to another Faith Horizons podcast. It is an honor to get to interview the kingdom leaders that God has placed in Kansas City. If I could ask a favor of you. Please rate the podcast in iTunes and share with those that you know. This will help get the word out about what God is doing in Kansas City. Thanks, and God bless.