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You’ve heard of registries for brides and babies? These two help Modesto homeless

Online gift registries will help furnish the apartments being created for homeless people in a former Modesto motel.

Donors can select kitchenware, towels, laundry supplies and other low-cost items for what used to be American Budget Inn & Suites on Kansas Avenue. The Stanislaus Regional Housing Authority set up the registries at Target and Walmart.

The 103-unit project, to be known as Kansas House, will provide housing and supportive services to people working to move beyond homelessness.

“We started talking about all the little things that we could do, so we came up with the idea of a registry,” said Barbara Kauss, the agency’s executive director, by phone Friday. As of Friday afternoon, a few items had been purchased already.

Kansas House could open in early 2020, after renovations to bring the property up to code. The project will provide studio apartments for 150 to 200 people referred by various service providers. The households could be couples, single men and women, friends who want to live together, or single parents with kids.

Walmart and Target are not directly involved in the cause, and the registry prices are not discounted. Donors nonetheless can find bargains, such as:

The items will be delivered to the Housing Authority, which is seeking dozens of each.

“It’s a great way to help folks who want to help themselves,” said Teresa Kinney, administrative analyst at the agency.

Excess donations from the registries will go to the Housing Authority’s program for veterans.

Kansas House is part of a recent effort to improve emergency shelters, transitional housing and other services for homeless people in Stanislaus County.

The motel renovation will cost about $8 million. The Housing Authority is contributing $2.1 million. The city of Modesto is kicking in $2.5 million in community development funds. Another $3.4 million will come from county Behavioral Health and Recovery Services and Mental Health Services Act money.

This story was originally published October 26, 2019 5:00 AM.

John Holland covers breaking news and has been with The Modesto Bee since 2000. He has covered agriculture for the Bee and at newspapers in Sonora and Visalia. He was born and raised in San Francisco and has a journalism degree from UC Berkeley.
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