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City Union Mission determined to help homeless stay warm

Posted at 4:04 PM, Jan 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-17 17:23:06-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When it's bitterly cold like it has been this week, local shelters can get overcrowded, but they rarely turn people away. 

"Things definitely step up. We get pretty crowded at both our men's shelter and our family shelter," said Dan Doty, Executive Director at City Union Mission. 

In Kansas City, the City Union Mission exists to help people get back on their feet. While most people who visit the shelter don't stay long, the bitterly cold weather has left them accommodating more people than usual. 

"At our men's shelter, we've never turned anyone away, even if it's sitting up overnight," said Doty. 

The men's shelter can comfortably sleep 300 people, though the shelter hasn't reached capacity in years. Unfortunately, it's the City Union Mission's family shelter that has turned families in need away.

"We lose sleep over that, a number of our staff do who are front line, the hotline operators, especially who have to say to many people, 'I'm sorry, there's no shelter space in our family shelter available right now,'" said Doty. 

Doty said it can be a number of days before a family can get into the shelter, which is several days too long. Together, Kansas City area shelters work to bring everyone inside and out of the cold.