Inclusive homeless shelter potentially shuttering emergency services

reStart, located at 918 E. 9th St. PHOTO/Michael Bushnell

ReStart has begun phasing out its emergency shelter beds because of a lack of available funding. ReStart’s emergency shelter had a total of 90 beds but as of Feb. 27, they are down to around 50 beds, according to reStart’s CEO Stephanie Boyer.

“We are reducing and potentially eliminating our single adult emergency shelter beds,” said Boyer.

As people leave the shelter, the beds are not being refilled, according to Boyer.

“We’ve already started reducing [available beds], so as people are exiting into housing placements, we’re not refilling those beds currently. So that will continue to happen over the course of the next 30 to 60 days,” said Boyer.

ReStart’s emergency shelter is used by an average of 375 single adults annually and people typically stay for three months, according to Boyer.

Many of the homeless shelters in Kansas City, Missouri have religious foundations, mostly Christian, which can be a problem for those that are homeless of different religions or those in the LGBTQ+ community.

Sheffield Place, Benilde Hall, and reStart are some of the few secular shelters in the area. ReStart is the only shelter that serves both men, women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and families.

According to reStart’s website, “ReStart is the only homeless agency in Kansas City serving all homeless populations—singles, couples, gay, straight, transgender and gender-expansive individuals, and unaccompanied youth ages 12-18, as well as non-traditional families, persons with HIV/AIDS, and individuals recently released from prison or from psychiatric hospitalization.”

An ordinance to give reStart $250,000 from the Unappropriated Fund Balance of the General Fund was referred to the Finance, Governance and Public Safety Committee on Feb. 27.

“I think overall… that reStart is here to be a part of the solution,” said Boyer. “But we need the entire community’s support and supporting all the people in Kansas City that are experiencing homelessness, and as we continue to have an affordable housing issue the folks, the amount of people that we have entering into the homeless system is going to continue to get greater and greater if we don’t seriously address affordable housing.”

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