WINFIELD, Kan. (KSNW) – Cowley County does not have any emergency shelters for people in need, so the City of Winfield is stepping in to help people.

When the issue was brought to the attention of one Winfield man seven years ago, he decided it was time to action.

“We had a young lady who was nine months pregnant. And she didn’t have any place to go,” said Bradley Gamber, Chairman of House of Hope.

Her story led Gamber to call on local organizations. They partnered together to found “House of Hope.” Their initiative is to provide assistance to displaced individuals in the community.

The group is now building the county’s first shelter. It will host one family at a time for up to two days. The property will be 500 square feet and host one family unit at a time for up to two days.

The project was one that not many people in the community first understood.

“Homelessness looks different in a small town than it does in a big city. So, there wasn’t a lot of community awareness,” explains Gamber.

Their unhoused population in the area is small.

“About 20 throughout the county. So sometimes that’s obviously spread out maybe between the larger cities,” said Taggart Wall, City Manager for the City of Winfield.

House of Hope began going door-to-door to educate people about the issue of unhoused individuals. Now, the initiative has garnered overwhelming support.

“We need to help anybody that needs some help. They’re humans,” said Ron and Patty Howe, Winfield Residents.

The organization bought the property from a family who wanted it to be used for a good cause. They paid $4,000 for the lot. The project has now raised $72,000 in community donations.

“There have been some churches, we had a couple of fundraisers through the years to help raise the money,  but the majority of the funds have come from individuals who felt lime that was the right thing to do,” said Gamber.

Contractors, plumbers, and technicians have been working on the project. Cement was laid on property Thursday morning.

Southwestern College students and high schoolers are also helping to clear the property during construction.

“It’s become pretty much a community effort,” said Gamber.

“It’s something that we all want to try and help where we can, and Cowley County House of Hope has been a good advocate,” said Wall.

The shelter is expected to open by the end of the year—the first step towards an inclusive community.

“I’m hoping if they’re comfortable enough, they’ll be able to knock on our door and say ‘Hey, we need something,’ and we’ll be able to help,” said the Howe family.

Gamber says their end goal is to eventually open a 90-day shelter to help people get back on their feet.