By Max Goodwin
South Kansas City’s 5th District Councilwoman Ryana Parks-Shaw has been leading the city’s effort to help the homeless community as chairwoman of the Mayor’s Houseless Task Force since last winter.
On Monday, Councilwoman Parks-Shaw and the Houseless Task Force announced that Kansas City’s online dashboard is now live and operating to track the availability of shelter beds.
That announcement was part of a press conference in which Councilwoman Parks-Shaw and Assistant City Manager Kimiko Gilmore explained the city government’s plan to help the homeless this winter.
The city has established a centralized drop-off location for resources at the City Union Mission at 8th street and Highland Ave. They ask for donated items to be in new condition. Most of the items requested for donation are clothing, like sweatshirts, sweatpants, thermal tops and bottoms, socks, shoes/boots, face coverings, and scarves.
The online shelter bed dashboard will give people a more efficient way to help those without a place to shelter. A year ago, Councilwoman Parks-Shaw found herself calling shelter after shelter around the city to check if they had available space. It is a daily tedious task that homeless advocates know well.
That process will be much easier this year as the information is now easily available on the city’s website with the new shelter bed dashboard. Each day at 12:30 p.m. the website will update with the number of available beds at each of the shelter locations.
Councilwoman Parks-Shaw worked with the United Way and Greater Kansas City Community Foundation to create a fund to collect monetary donations to benefit the homeless.