Thursday, January 31, 2013
Local organizations are joining forces to help Wichita's homeless.
One of those organizations, Inter-Faith Ministries, hopes a new facility will help improve its outreach to the homeless community.
A multi-faith dedication service officially brought the new Inter-Faith Ministries Spiritual Center -- housed in the former York Rite Temple, 841 N. Market -- into service Thursday. The first service it will provide: serving as the Warming Souls Winter Shelter for homeless men.
"We're hoping that this will be a very friendly, welcoming place where people who maybe have been afraid to come out from under the bridge or wherever they're staying (and) that they feel welcome," Anne Corriston, Inter-Faith Ministries' Executive Director.
Corriston said the proximity to Inter-Faith's main offices -- next door -- should help volunteers and employees make better connections with those they are helping.
"And I hope that what those connections lead to is helping people connect to services and really help them maybe overcome some of the struggles they have," she said.
Connecting homeless people with services to help them overcome homelessness was the aim of the annual Point-in-Time Homeless Count conducted Thursday at Century II. The United Way of the Plains uses the federally mandated count to provide information about services available to the homeless.
"Maybe they just first experienced homelessness and they're just not aware of what all is out there," said Delane Butler, Vice-President of Marketing for United Way.
Volunteers at the count also surveyed those willing to share their stories.
"The survey allows us to identify how deep the need is," Butler said.
A constant need is winter shelter. Inter-Faith Ministries leaders say they know that is a need they will be able to meet now that it owns a facility large enough to house an overflow shelter.