WICHITA, Kansas – Wichita police are helping homeless people get off the street and into places they can call their own. To date, they’ve helped more than 80 homeless people get back on their feet.
“A lot of homeless were stranded here,” said Officer Nate Schweithale. “They just couldn’t get back home, but they had a family member to take them in. They didn’t have the funds or the ability to get there.”
The Wichita police have a program named “HOT,” or Homeless Outreach Team, that makes all of it possible.
These efforts allow for people like Maggie to get back to her family. Maggie’s older brother, who lives in Utah, has agreed to take her in. But Maggie needed some help to get home.
“She couldn’t make anything happen here, so she contacted our team,” said Schweithale.
Maggie is 26-years-old. She is homeless and also pregnant.
“I need to take care of this baby and that’s my number one priority,” said Maggie.
Although she was born in Hutch, she moved to Utah when she was 15 with her adoptive parents. Four years later, she was kicked out of the house and had to live on the streets.
With only one homeless shelter in Wichita for women without children, police say it’s full about 80 percent of the time.
Housing programs suggest that getting homeless people off the street is better for everyone in the community.
According to a study by UNC Charlotte’s “College of Health and Human Services,” within one year of an assistant housing program, there was a 78 percent reduction in arrests, and an 84 percent reduction in jail stays.
Thanks to Wichita Police Department’s Homeless Outreach team and private donors, Maggie is able to make it back to Utah.
KSN wanted to know more about opportunities available for homeless people here in Wichita and Sedgwick County– so, we took a look at the numbers.
- Local emergency shelters have almost 400 beds available.
- There are about 200 beds in transitional housing.
- In permanent supportive housing, there are a little over 400 beds.
- That totals to more than 1,000 beds in Wichita and Sedgwick County.
For more information about the Homeless Outreach Team, click here.
To view a list of resources for the homeless in Wichita, click here.