Metro shelters adapting to help those in need as pandemic lingers on

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Box fans, misters and ice cold water stations are just a few additions to the Hope Faith homeless assistance campus in Kansas City. 

“This has been quite the up and down roller coaster,“ Jaysen Van Sickle said. 

He’s talking about the COVID-coaster, and Van Sickle and his team are not slowing down.

“We’ve been ranging anywhere from 300-700 people, including meals a day,” Van Sickle said. 

They’ve moved meals, showers and medical assistance outside their 50,000-square-foot facility to allow more space.

“We’ve been here for four-and-a-half months, almost five,” Van Sickle said. 

Good for social distancing, but not so much for keeping cool.

“We’re seeing them come in sunburned, blistered,” registered nurse and volunteer Sandy Turner said. 

But this nonprofit came up with a creative way to combat the heat, and it all starts at a fire hydrant.

“Immediately they had the city come out. They put this all together,” Van Sickle said, pointing at the handywork. 

Water pours out of a fire hose, filters through a box and makes it to a regular garden hose.

“That one garden hose provides for hand-washing stations, misters on all fans, as well as a drink station,” Van Sickle said. 

Hope Faith isn’t the only agency making adjustments across the metro as this pandemic continues.

The Salvation Army is delivering food right to families doors who live in shelters in Olathe and Independence. 

“We don’t need crisis on top of a crisis,” Maj. David Harvey with the Salvation Army said.

The Salvation Army shelters have extended stays for families who have lost their jobs. They continue to offer rent or utility assistance across the community.

Harvey said there’s a large increase due to the pandemic. 

“We’re going to help you through that so that you can continue to stay in your apartment or take care of that utility bill or rent so that you can take care of your family,” Harvey said.

During the pandemic, these agencies ask that you help from afar by donating a cooling kit with bottled water and sunscreen or donating monetarily.

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