JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. — Cold nights can be hard for people who don't have a warm place to call home.
Project 1020 wanted to change that for those experiencing homelessness.
The organization holds its temporary cold weather shelter at the Branches Church in Olathe, Kansas.
Project 1020 started four years ago, but this year is the first year they've been open every night since December 1st. They plan to stay open until April 1st.
Founders Barbara McEver and Dean Askeland said they saw the need and decided to do something about it because there aren't any emergency cold weather shelters for single men and women in the Johnson County area.
"When we very first started this four years I think we averaged about seven or eight people a night," McEver said. "Last year we saw between, I'm going to say 17 and 32 people most nights that we were open."
It's a similar situation for those experiencing homelessness in Wyandotte County.
Leaders at the Bridge of Hope Commmunity Church in Kansas City, Kansas, saw the need and opened up a cold weather emergency shelter when the temperature drops below 20 degrees.
"We just want them to know how much we care, how much God cares. So that's our main purpose in why we do what we do," Bridge of Hope Pastor Luther Eatman said. "We want to make this a home. Like I'm inviting you to come into my house to spend the night, and so I think that's some of the things that we want to address — just to make them comfortable, make them know how valuable they are because when you're homeless, you think that you're broken and you think nobody cares. And you think that you're by yourself."
The church provides services and other resources for people living on the streets. Eatman said leaders of the shelter have seen the impact based on last year's numbers.
"We had about 158 people come through here," Pastor Eatman said. "About 50 of them got housing."
Both Project 1020 and Bridge of Hope are looking for volunteers and donations.