Advocates call on KC leaders to do more after two homeless men die in cold

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two homeless men have died within days of each other as Kansas City experienced below freezing temperatures over the holiday weekend.

Kansas City police identified the man who died in the cold on New Year’s Day as Scott Eicke. Days after Eicke’s death, another homeless man was found dead in an abandoned building. He has not been identified yet.

Advocates speaking out for the homeless say something needs to be done, and they’re calling on the city to help.

Greg Parr has seen it all, he said.

“I’ve actually found people froze to death,” said the executive director of Neighbor2Neighbor.

Parr said he can relate to the homeless population because he’s been there before. 

“I was addicted to drugs almost 50 years of my life, and I was homeless for about 3 and a half years of my life,” Parr said. “I lived in abandoned houses for the same amount of time.”

Now he runs Neighbor2Neighbor, a nonprofit that helps homeless people get back on their feet.

“We’re open every day on Monday to Friday to reach out to people and find out why they’re homeless and to help them solve that problem,” Parr said.

Parr said he was saddened to hear about the two homeless people that died in the cold over the weekend.

“Helping the homeless is sometimes on the bottom of the list,” he said. “This area around 35th and Prospect, I call it the seemingly hopeless people or the forgotten people.”

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said the city has put $4.9 million toward helping people with housing needs.

“That is clearly not enough,” Lucas said. “We need to make sure that we have more folks out there, reaching out to members of our unhoused community.”

The Housing Authority of Kansas City told FOX4 more than 10,000 people are on its voucher waiting list and more than 9,000 people are waiting for public housing assistance.

This doesn’t include the number of people who need emergency housing assistance.

Parr said some homeless people with mental health or substance abuse problems avoid help because of their addiction, but it’s the community’s job to help them even if they don’t want it.

Neighbor2Neighbor is raising money to continue helping the less fortunate. They have a GoFundMe account here.

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