Cold weather forces homeless to take advantage of local shelters

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - On average, about 1,300 people are homeless every night in the Kansas City metro area. When cold temperatures hit, places like reStart, a shelter in Kansas City, opens its doors to offer everyone a warm bed.

Linda Bridgewater is one person who heads to the shelter to stay warm.

Bridgewater has been living on the streets.

"Until you've experienced it, you don't know what it feels like in a person's mind and in their heart. When you think you're losing your mind, and you're hurting all over and you're cold, and you're hungry, and you don't know which way to go," Bridgewater said.

Whether it is 95 degrees or 25 degrees, Bridgewater does not have a permanent place to lay her head each night.

"There's a whole lot of us. If we don't pull together, we won't make it," Bridgewater said.

The most common time for Bridgewater and others to turn to shelters is in the winter.

"It's a lot better to sleep on a matress, than on the cold, hard ground," Jeannie Patton said.

Although reStart is there to offer that mattress and a warm meal, their actual hope is for everyone to want to get off the street, and into a permanent home.

"We can open up early, we can stay all the time. We can make sure there are blankets, heaters and boilers. What we can't do, is give people permanent housing, unless they work with us to do that," Evie Craig, executive director of reStart said.

Bridgewater said there is hope for her to find a permanent home someday.

Until that day comes, she and others said they are thankful for the help they are given.

"I praise Jesus all the time for a warm shelter, because you have to have that," Patton said.

reStart has enough room for about 100 people to stay there during overnight hours.

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