71 days, that is how long the City of Wichita estimates is the average time someone is homeless in the community.

It’s a number many are wanting to drop to zero.  Wednesday, the first step was taken toward that goal. “We are getting aggressive when it comes to attacking the issues of homelessness here in Wichita,” Mayor Brandon Whipple told reporters,

The Wichita homeless task force met for the first time to start its massive task of trying to bring homelessness to a functional zero. 

The group comprises city and county leaders, non-profits dealing with homelessness, and other providers and organizations. 

The task force will attempt to address several areas to try to reduce homelessness. It will create plans for affordable housing or shelters and make recommendations on maximizing what resources are out there already.

Sally Stang, the city of Wichita's housing director says part of this task force is to gather information. “We need better data, better information so we can make adjustments to our homeless ecosystem.”

Service providers, like LaTasha St. Arnault of HumanKind ministries, say it's essential to make sure plans work practically for the unhoused, not just on paper.

 “As we administer services and design new programs, enhance current programs, we really want to talk about how one would navigate those systems so that logistically it actually is effective to get people housed and off the streets in the city of Wichita."

Members of the group reaching a point of nearly zero people experience homelessness is achievable and not just a lofty goal they’ve set. “That's what this task force has to deliver on. We need to see action. We need to see transparency" Sedgwick County commissioner Ryan Baty told reporters. 

The task force will meet monthly.