Wichita City Council takes another step to help the city's homeless

Senior homeless man sitting on walking street
Photo credit Getty Images

The Wichita City Council approved just over $300 thousand in funding to help provide shelter for the city's homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The money will go to the United Way to provide lodging, $100 per night, for the city's homeless who are being tested for, or have tested positive for COVID-19.

Sally Stang, the city's housing director, explained why the city needs to get those affected into shelter.

“Thirty percent of people in Sedgwick County may be infected with COVID-19. Statistics from California and Washington indicate the incidence of COVID-19 among the homeless population is double that of the general public," Stang said.

The money won't come from the city's general fund. It comes from that money received from the federal government through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Last week, the city approved $60 thousand to Humankind Ministries for operating emergency shelters through the end of April.

In other news, Mayor Brandon Whipple asked the council to consider a proposal that would have added a Deputy to the Mayor, or assistant, position.

Citing an ongoing staffing study, not to mention the city's current hiring freeze and furloughs, the Mayor and council agreed to table the item to a later date. Several council members wanted to wait until the general public could attend the meeting when social distancing measures are relaxed. There was public backlash on the city's social media sites Tuesday morning as the council discussed the item.