Wichita works to provide shelter for homeless community during the COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Shelters like the union rescue mission and HumanKind Ministries are working to assure the safety of Wichita’s homeless community.

On Thursday, KSN News spoke with city leaders to see what they are doing to protect homeless families during the pandemic.

During his press conference, Mayor Brandon Whipple mentioned the city is working to fund a $300,000 motel voucher through the United Way of the Plains to keep those homeless men and women who present COVID-19 symptoms off the streets and in a safe place to self-isolate. The plan is to temporarily house symptomatic patients while they await test results or have tested positive. The city first planned to use the old downtown library for an emergency shelter.

“Following discussions with the health department and fire marshal, it was deemed that the use of the library would not provide adequate isolation,” said Sally Stang, director of housing for the City of Wichita.

Stang says she will take the voucher contract to city leaders next week. She hopes it will be approved. Right now, she says the city will have to choose the motel rooms to be used with the vouchers. Stang says they are looking for motel rooms with ventilation systems that do not connect to other rooms.

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