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Kansas City group transporting hope, protecting the unhoused in the process

Hope Faith Warming Bus March 2022
Posted at 9:52 PM, Mar 10, 2022

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Once shelters are at a capacity in Kansas City, Missouri, some without a home will spend the night at the Garrison Community Center located at 1124 e 5th Street.

KSHB 41 News rode along with Hope Faith, a group that helps the unhoused get out of frigid temperatures.

The organization's warming bus may be transporting hope to those experiencing homelessness in Kansas City, but it may also be saving lives in this extreme cold.

"We see a lot of frostbite in the mornings at Hope Faith, we see more frostbite than I've ever seen in my life," Mary Snow, a case manager for Hope Faith said. "[We've seen] Fingers, toes, completely black."

Snow spoke about the importance of the bus for those experiencing homelessness.

"[They] would be out on the street, walking [and] sleeping underneath bridges," Snow said. "We actually just passed one of our guests that frequents Hope Faith and he's pretty dead set on sleeping underneath the bridge tonight, but I'm going to try to get him to get on the bus."

Besides a ride, Hope Faith meets other basic needs like providing food and water to the people they encounter.

Since Thursday morning, they've taken 60 people out of the elements to warming sites like the Gregg/Klice community center.

"We've checked with the local shelters on the women's side, there's only five beds available right now," Snow said. "That's for the whole night."

The bus is a part of the city's extreme weather plan for the unhoused.

"A lot of people are starting to realize what we do and they're starting to come more and more when the weather gets like this," Okome Ochala, another case manager with Hope Faith said.

Jermaine Shaw, who recently lost his home, is grateful for the group's efforts.

"I appreciate this ride because it’s cold you know," Shaw said. "I spent the night walking around. You know what I mean? But the night before that I spent the night in a closet covered up."

Right now, the extreme weather plan kicks in on nights when the overnight low is less than 20 degrees.

Advocates would like to see that changed because on nights where the temperature is near 32 degrees, they say it can put lives in jeopardy.