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Emergency Winter Shelter to transition to 24/7 operation

Downtown Wichita.jpg
Carla Eckels
/
KMUW

The shelter, run by HumanKind Ministries, will open 24 hours a day, seven days a week beginning Tuesday.

The Emergency Winter Shelter, operated by HumanKind Ministries, will switch to a 24/7 operation on Tuesday.

Previously, the no-barrier shelter located at Eighth and Market was only open overnight.

“This is the first step in the right step,” said LaTasha St. Arnault, president of HumanKind Ministries.

HumanKind said the change will give case managers more time to work with people who utilize their services and hopefully get them to stable housing or more resources.

“It's a really big collaborative effort to make this possible and is a lifesaving measure that will result in people going into other programs,” St. Arnault said, “and then ultimately, really transitioning them out of their housing insecurities.”

Close to 1,500 people use shelters operated by HumanKind annually. More than half of them use the Emergency Winter Shelter.

“I do think that there is a need for a 24-hour, low-barrier shelter year round,” St. Arnault said. “But … especially during the winter months.”

The City of Wichita said the Wichita Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team will do educational outreach during periods of cold weather.

“Their effort will be to guide unhoused residents toward utilizing the day shelters such as Open Door or Union Rescue Mission and overnight emergency shelters such as HumanKind Ministries,” a release from the city said last week.

The change comes after at least five unhoused people died due to the cold weather earlier this year.

Kylie Cameron (she/her) is a general assignment reporter for KMUW. Before KMUW, Kylie was a digital producer at KWCH, and served as editor in chief of The Sunflower at Wichita State. You can follow her on Twitter @bykyliecameron.