WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It was an eye-opening event for several Wichitans Saturday, as KSN’s Tiffany Lane and others in the community participated in the Homeless for a Day Challenge.

They stayed overnight at Inter-Faith Ministries‘ Men’s Overflow Shelter, that is closed at the end of March until November.

Even though this is just an example of an experience, and not even close to what homeless individuals go through, it was still an eye-opener for several who participated.

“I had a charger, my phone and a pair of pants and a t-shirt,” said Tyler, of his recent experience with homelessness.

Tyler has faced a lot of adversity over the last few months, experiences that some have never had to deal with. 

So Tiffany Lane decided to participate in Inter-Faith Ministries’ event to get some understanding. 

“We will be starting the Homeless for a Day Challenge in just a few minutes. Now this is the registration table,” she said in a Facebook live video as she started the event. 

The day started with a tour of the different shelters and the inn.

The end goal for Inter-Faith is to get homeless individuals in their own apartment. 

But participants quickly realized the challenges so many face, when they filled out budget worksheets.

Limited incomes, make the necessities many take for granted, impossible to pay for, leading many to come to places like the emergency winter shelter at Inter-Faith Ministries.

Challenge participants lined up outside as someone using services there in the winter normally would. 

Once inside, participants set what few things they had at their cots, a much different option than being fortunate enough to sleep in their own beds.

And after dinner, they heard the first-hand struggle of having to be in that position.

“I’m just looking forward to being able to have a place, a job I can go to every day, and have something I can call mine,” Tyler said to the group. 

Then, it was lights out at 10 p.m., before waking up at 6 a.m. 

The only difference for event participants, is that they had a home to go to after, an option not everyone has.

“Sometimes you really do take for granted what it’s like to sleep on your own bed where you don’t have to share a room with a lot of people you don’t know,” Tiffany said in a Facebook live following the challenge.

The winter shelter everyone stayed for the event, is closed through the spring, summer and fall, so participants were not taking up space that would have been reserved for those needing help Saturday night. 

Other shelters do stay open year round, but funding is always a challenge to take care of the city’s homeless. 

And that was the reason for this event, raising awareness and raising money through participant registration and donations.

If you would like to help out, go to IFM’s donation page.