LENEXA, Kan. — As cold weather settles into the metro, volunteers with Johnson County’s sole emergency drop-in shelter are preparing to open for the season.
Project 1020 is scheduled to open for its eighth winter season on Thursday, Dec. 1. The shelter is based out of the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church in Lenexa and serves as the county’s only cold weather shelter for adults facing homelessness.
Volunteers provide transportation to the shelter, a hot meal and overnight accommodations for up to 30 people each night. Project 1020 co-founder Barbara McEver said on average the shelter serves about 250 different individuals each season.
“The need is so much greater than what we are able to do. Thirty people is not very many people in all of Johnson County to be able to shelter. When people come in or they call and we’re full we just do everything that we can to try to make other arrangements for them,” McEver said. “Generally if we’re full, so are the other shelters like City Union Mission and Shelter KC and the shelters in Lawrence, but we just try to do the best that we can.”
The shelter operates entirely through volunteers and donations from the community, but McEver said the shelter needs more support from the county to meet the growing need for resources.
“Johnson County has so much and I see improvements all throughout the county all the time, but I feel like the people who are experiencing homelessness, they should be part of that plan. They (county leaders) should be trying to do something bigger to where they can help these people that are struggling and suffering,”McEver said.
Project 1020 will open for the 2022-23 winter season on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. The shelter will operate daily from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. from Dec. 1 through March 31, 2023. Anyone interested in supporting the shelter through a monetary donation can find more information on the Project 1020 website.
Project 1020 is also seeking volunteers to help staff the shelter and prepare meals for guests throughout the upcoming season.