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Inter-Faith Inn: 'Have a space where they can come to get out of the cold and bring their pet'

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) - A shelter for homeless people and their pets. It's the first of its kind in Kansas, and opened its doors just this week.

KSN stopped by the shelter to meet the first person and her companions taking advantage of the program.

The woman who did not want to be identified, is going by the name Elizabeth to share her story. She says when she was first homeless, she was separated from her pets and she describes this as one of the most difficult times in her life.

Escaping abuse left Elizabeth and her two dogs, with nowhere to turn, but the street.

"I ended up homeless because of that, and I had no where else to go," said Elizabeth.

Elizabeth began to stay with a friend, without her pets. She says they had to stay at another location, and the separation was devastating.

"My anxiety and my depression got really bad," said Elizabeth.

But Elizabeth says her transition to Inter-Faith Inn gave her some hope. They told her the shelter would soon accept people and their dogs and eventually, cats as well. This Tuesday her pets became the first to stay at Inter-Faith.

"Made it so much nicer, made me so much happier," said Elizabeth.

Inter-Faith Ministries says the expansion is exciting and they hope it reaches a part of the community, it hasn't been able to serve in the past.

They also believe pets provide comfort to those needing it most.

"Pets absolutely are a part of a person's family and not only that they provide emotional support and a companionship, and for some of our clients that are on the streets that are homeless, sometimes their pets is the only thing they have that keeps them stable," said Christen Sampamurthy, Director of Programs and Compliance at Inter-Faith Ministries.

The facility has three dog spaces and in the next month, they hope to open their space for cats. They hope the addition serves the need they and others have seen in the city.

"Have a space where they can come to get out of the cold and bring their pet with them," said Sampamurthy.

They want to remind people that Operation Holiday is just around the corner and they will be accepting pet donations and dog food there. For more information, contact them at 316-264-9303 or online at interfaithwichita.org.


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