[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]College students frequently rent one of the many small houses in Kirksville, but one local woman decided to buy a house for a very different reason. Casa Guate is a small, nearly 100-year-old house that will serve as a living space for women and children who are refugees from Guatemala and Honduras with the help of Migrant Relief Services. Preparing the house has been a community effort.
Lynn Carter, a member of the Order Franciscana Seglar and executive director of Casa Guate, said buying a small house to rent out always had been in the back of her mind, even after living in Kirksville for 20 years. When she heard about the nearly 60,000 refugee children who came across the southern United States border, Carter said she knew she needed to do something.
Because the children are minors and the proper resources are not available, Missouri law will not allow them to be fostered in-state. After learning about the law, Carter said she was lost as to what she should be doing. Carter said eventually, she learned there were children who came with their mothers and the families would need housing.
The 2015 MLK day event all helped with painting, minor repairs and putting together furniture, she said. “I had friends come over and we would just paint,” Carter said. “The youngest volunteer was 5 years old.”
Carter said the house also was furnished by local community members and organizations. Carter said the house can host nine people, and two separate families could easily share the space.
Even people outside the Kirksville area began supporting Casa Guate, Carter said. When the old siding was about to be covered, Carter said she invited people to draw and write blessings on the old siding so it would be a permanent part of the house. Local children drew pictures and adults wrote messages, but Carter said she received emails from people as far away as California requesting someone write their blessings in specific colors.
To read more on the refugee house, read the rest on Issuu.