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Kansas City shelters make adjustments to provide housing during cold snap

shelter kc cold.png
Posted at 12:15 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 13:15:33-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The chapel at Shelter KC in Kansas City, Missouri, is now a daytime warming center for people experiencing homelessness staying at the facility.

Normally, the rescue mission asks men in its emergency overnight shelter to leave the building during the day in order to look for jobs and connect with social services. With high temperatures in the single digits, Shelter KC changed its policies to allow clients to remain inside all day where they can find protection from the elements.

“Everything is a life-and-death battle throughout the year. But this magnifies it," said Eric Burger, Shelter KC’s executive director. "This puts a clarity to that. In this night, if you’re not inside, you could die tonight."

He said the staff nurse has discovered frostbite on clients and referred them to the hospital.

Kansas City and Creative Innovative Entrepreneurs also have turned the city’s convention center at Bartle Hall into an overnight shelter for people experiencing homelessness. Organizer Anton Washington said more than 300 people stayed at the shelter Saturday and Sunday nights.

Stephanie Boyer, CEO of reStart, said the organization sent an outreach team to connect with houseless people ahead of the cold blast in order to help them prepare.

Burger said maintaining social distance during the COVID-19 pandemic while keeping the doors open forced Shelter KC to convert areas outside the dormitory into sleeping quarters.