Shelter KC, formerly Kansas City Rescue Mission, is continuing their work to help aid and care for the homeless, but are facing new challenges during the recent stay-at-home order, namely a decrease in donations and supplies.
Shelter KC has two facilities, a men’s center in the Northland, and a women’s center located in Northeast at 2611. E. 11th Street.
Currently, they serve about 75 men and 16 women. Eric Burger, executive director of Shelter KC, said they have reduced the number of beds for men from about 140 to 75 to create adequate space between people to maintain social distancing.
They have also increased cleaning protocols, reduced interactions, check individuals for fevers, and stress the importance of frequent hand washing.
Shelter KC also has a nurse on staff who works with individuals to ensure health protocols are followed.
“Some people choose to go out into camps at this time,” said Burger. “For those who want to shelter in place, we want to make sure they have a place for that, but if you are going to stay with us, we want you to stay with us and follow the Mayor’s orders.”
Due to shut downs of non-essential businesses and the economic decline, Burger said many larger donors have been unable to make the usual donation, resulting in decrease of supplies to care for homeless individuals they serve daily.
“It takes about fifty dollars to house one person per day,” said Burger. “We are adding breakfast, lunch, and dinner to the menu and have additional medical staff on board.”
Burger said needed supplies right now are hand soap, body wash, masks, gloves, sanitizer, and the normal ongoing hygiene products for the people they serve.
“We are getting a lot more fifteen-dollar and twenty-dollar donations coming in and every one of those count,” he said.
Burger said they are still taking intakes for those who need a place to shelter during the stay-at-home order.
“The challenge is trying to keep social distancing in a shelter the best we can. People choosing to not be in the shelter and to stay separate from other people isn’t a bad thing. The question is how do you help people and maintain social distancing?”
Burger said community members should follow this number one rule during this pandemic:
“Never give out cash because you don’t know who has an addiction. The last thing you want is for people who have an addiction to be under the influence while this is going on because it affects your decision making. Giving out bags of food and water from a distance is an appropriate thing to do. I would certainly not give out any cash.”
If community members are interested in donating items, Burger said curbside drop-offs are available. Call 816-421-7643 to schedule a drop-off. To give a financial donation, please visit shelterkc.org.