WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – On Friday, members of the Sedgwick County Commission, Wichita City Council, state legislature, United Way, and Wichita Police Department met at the Ruffin building to discuss options needed now and in the future.

HumanKind released this statement Friday afternoon regarding the emergency shelter situation in Wichita and the ongoing discussions to find a solution.

HumanKind is optimistic after the Round Table Discussion on emergency shelter that took place this morning. HumanKind is happy to announce that, after discussions with the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County, HumanKind will be able to make upgrades to their current facility to at least open at a reduced capacity, serving 100 men and 40 women this winter at 841 N. Market. HumanKind is working diligently to make these safety upgrades with an anticipated open date of November 15. HumanKind is continuing to work with the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County to identify an additional site to accommodate the additional clients who remain unsheltered. Those who wish to volunteer their time or offer donations can contact HumanKind at 316-264-9303.

Together as community partners the City of Wichita, Sedgwick County, and HumanKind will come to a viable solution for our homeless neighbors. We are confident in the direction we are headed. Humankind shows appreciation for the recognition our organization received from County Commissioner Ryan Baty and others for stepping up to provide Wichita’s emergency winter shelter for the past 17 years.

We agree with Sedgwick County Commissioner Sarah Lopez who said, “Homelessness and affordable housing is now such a public health crisis, and it is in the mission of what we do” in Sedgwick County. This is truly a community effort and will only be solved by community and government partners collaborating together to create and fund both short- and long-term solutions. We are committed to offering our expertise, operational support and facilities as far as possible to help those in need. Sedgwick County Commissioner Ryan Baty acknowledges that it will take financial support and coordinated response “from city, state and the county to bring the resources needed to change the trend” of homelessness in our community.

HumanKind has operated the region’s only emergency winter shelter for men and women for 17 years– providing access to warm meals, a hygiene pantry, basic healthcare, case management, and more. Historically, HumanKind served a nightly average of 75 men and 30 women in these facilities. After COVID-19, HumanKind experienced an increase in numbers served and saw a record of 180 individuals on one night during the 2022/2023 season. The United Way Point-in-Time Count shows an increase of 18% over the past five years in the number of individuals experiencing homelessness in Sedgwick County.

HumanKind will continue to run year-round programming, including homeless street outreach, as well as The Inn, a year-round 60-bed shelter for families and those with pets, plus 155 affordable permanent supportive housing units offering case management to more than 1,500 individuals a year and serving more than 14,000 individuals through Operation Holiday.

Ryan Baty
County Commissioner

Sedgwick County

Scott Eilert, Ph.D.
Board Chairman

HumanKind Ministries