With temperatures already dropping below freezing at night, most areas have officially opened their cold-weather housing programs for the winter months.  

The goal is to make sure anyone who needs and wants a place to shelter outside of the cold will be able to find a place to go, but suppliers admit, there are some people who don’t want to take advantage of the services and others, due to the sheer need, that they won’t be able to help.  

Wichita, KS

The Wichita Homeless Outreach Team will be reaching out to find people who are sheltering in outlying area overpasses and bridges and guide them toward using one of the city’s day shelters such Open Door or Union Rescue Mission and overnight emergency shelters such as HumanKind Ministries. Here’s a link to a list of Wichita area shelters: bit.ly/3EQTvcp.

HOT also partners with community groups to receive and distribute warm clothing, hygiene kits and non -perishable food kits.

A full list of shelter, housing and meal services is available at bit.ly/3EQTvcp.

Wichita Transit will also help during cold weather by offering transportation to shelters during regular Transit operations. 

Members of the public who notice an individual in need of homeless services are encouraged to call HOT at (316) 854-3013.

Wyandotte County  

Again this year, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas (UG) has partnered with Cross-Lines Community Outreach to manage and operate a temporary Severe Cold Weather Overnight Shelter beginning in mid-December through March 31.

This year the overnight shelter will be located at 550 State Ave, Kansas City, KS. It will be available to those in need on nights when the temperature is 25 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Shelter hours will be from 4:30 p.m. to 9 a.m. the following morning. Guests will be allowed to be onsite from 6 p.m. – 7 a.m.  

Determination whether the shelter will be open for the evening will be made by 8 a.m. each day, and the information will be available by calling (913) 214-1104. The expected maximum capacity of the shelter will be 35 people and available beds will be first come, first served.

Cross-Lines staff, and a variety of community partner organizations, will provide a variety of support services, including meals, and assistance with getting clients into permanent housing.   

The shelter will be partially funded by Emergency Solutions Grant CARES ACT funding awarded to the City of Kansas City, KS, in 2020.  

In addition to the overnight shelter, there are multiple warming centers in KCK’s libraries, YMCAs and community centers.  

Johnson County 

In Johnson County, Project 1020 is now open for its eighth winter season. The shelter is located in the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church in Lenexa. It is the county’s only cold weather shelter for adults.

The shelter accommodates 30 people per night and it is open from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. through March 31. Volunteers are available to provide transportation to the shelter.    

Unlike the other shelters in this article, this shelter is run entirely on volunteer services and donations. Anyone interested in supporting the shelter through a monetary donation can find more info on Project1020.org. They also need volunteers to help prepare the guests’ nightly meals.   

Kansas City MO

KCMO City Council has unanimously approved the ZeroCK extreme weather plan, adding 154 beads throughout the city’s existing shelter system. The additional beds will always be open through Feb. 28.

Here’s where the additional beds will be located:  

Hope Faith, a daytime shelter at 705 Virginia Ave., plans to add 80 men’s beds, 

Shelter KC at 2611 E. 11th St. plans to add 15,

True Light at 712 E. 31st will add 10 women’s beds and two family rooms, 

ReStart at 918 E. 9th will add 15 single rooms and two family rooms, and 

City Union Mission will add 15 men’s beds and 15 women’s beds.

These resources are in addition to those provided to individuals experiencing homelessness year-round.

The coordinated outreach team will also reach out to homeless encampments, to encourage people to come in out of the cold and to provide other assistance as needed. The city’s transportation system remains free and most of these locations are located on, or near, the city’s public transportation routes.

Anyone interested in donating resources or funds are asked to bring them to Hope Faith, which will serve as the coordinating center, making it easier for outreach teams to get items they need.  

Several churches and community organizations are also operating overnight cold weather shelters this winter.