The floor of Bartle Hall was transformed into a warming shelter for the homeless on Friday as workers assembled cots in the main exhibition hall. Photo by KC Star.

The City of Kansas City is expanding its work to care for the unhoused by opening a new cold weather shelter at the Kansas City Convention Center. The warming center replaces the one that opened last month at Garrison Community Center, 1124 E. 5th St., and expands the capacity to 150 beds each night with additional capacity available as needed.

“The COVID pandemic is unfortunately pushing more people into the streets, not just in KCMO but across the entire country,” said City Manager Brian Platt. “We are rapidly deploying additional resources and support for our unhoused population from multiple city departments and also in collaboration with a variety of community leaders and groups.

“Our community partners have been and continue to be the key to successful support of our unhoused population here in KCMO.”

Like Garrison, the new operation is named Scott Eicke Warming Center, in honor of a man who died in the cold on New Year’s Day.

Here are details about the warming center’s operation:

  • Those who need shelter should enter the convention center at 13th & Central.
  • The warming center is open from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m., now through March 31, 2021.
  • 150 beds are available each night, up from the 65 beds available at Garrison, with additional capacity available as needed.
  • It will be staffed by city employees, and staff and volunteers from community agencies such as reStart and the Greater KC Coalition to End Homelessness.

The warming center at Garrison opened Jan. 14, and has been operated by KC Parks with community volunteers from the Greater KC Coalition to End Homelessness, and the Creative Innovative Entrepreneurs.

Kansas City Convention Center

“Our solution today is long overdue and makes common sense. When so many lack resources, it’s important for Kansas City government to do all we can to keep people warm, healthy, and safe,” said Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas. “I have experienced homelessness and know it comes in many forms. Kansas City will continue to work with community leaders for short-term and long-term solutions to find safe, quality, and warm housing for everyone in Kansas City.”

“reStart is always here to be a part of the solution to ending homelessness in Kansas City,” added Stephanie Boyer of reStart. “This is one step. We must also stay focused on long-term solutions.”

This year the City has invested $8.5 million to serve those experiencing homelessness, using COVID relief funding to help those thrown into poverty due to the pandemic and loss of jobs. This funding supports 24 community organizations that provide housing, emergency shelter, outreach, counseling, rent and utility assistance and other services to KCMO residents.

This includes the City’s new family cold weather housing program, using rooms in a local hotel. Families in need of temporary lodging should contact Hope Faith, the agency operating the shelter for the city at 816-471-4673.

Click here learn more about KCMO Services & Funding for Unhoused Persons via the City’s fact sheet.