WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Every night around 600 people are sleeping on the streets of Wichita, according to HumanKind Ministries.
The nonprofit has a way for people to support their mission and bring awareness to those experiencing homelessness.
A lot of people can be guilty of it. For example, pulling up to a stop sign, your eyes dart away from the person sitting on the corner.
Tameka Clark wants people to know, “it could be you tomorrow.” It’s her reality right now. But unfortunately, a series of events led her to be without a home.
“I was staying with someone who was supposed to be a friend, but they didn’t have the best living situation,” said Clark.
She faces additional challenges because she is visually impaired.
Clark says HumanKind provides more than a meal and a clean place to sleep.
“They’ve all gone above and beyond what I would have imaged to help me feel safe and secure,” said Clark.
Human Kind invites everyone to give up their bed for one night and participate in Sleep Out ICT.
In the past, participants have slept in their backyards or garages.
“It’s not intended to replicate or duplicate homelessness because we can’t do that, and we don’t want to do that,” said Greer Cowley, HumanKind director of donor relations and community engagement. “It’s really meant to build awareness, advocacy, empathy for our homeless neighbors.”
Clark knows it only takes one setback to change a person’s circumstances.
“One unpaid bill, one lost job, one divorce, one illness in the family with medical bills could land you in the very same situation that I’m in,” said Clark.
Clark is thinking beyond a warm bed.
“Employment. Employment, that is the next step,” said Clark.
“I feel better about myself when I’m bringing in my own income. I feel more confident when I have employment so that would be the next step for me.”
So the next time you see someone facing a hard time, the hope is to view their situation with a little more understanding.
Sleep Out ICT is April 29. People can register online.
HumanKind Ministries also has a variety of tools for people participating:
- A tool kit, to help people have discussions about the issue of homelessness.
- A Weather simulator to discuss how weather impact our life, and how it can affect people without a home.
- Bedtime stories in video form from people who have or are currently experiencing homelessness and poverty.