by Lauren Seabrook
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
10:01 PM CST, January 30, 2013
A chance at a new life for Wichita's homeless children is what Mayor Carl Brewer hopes to see happen in 2013. He's asking the community to open their wallets.
"Funding is short at the state level," Brewer said. "Funding is short at the federal level. So, we have to go out to the private sector and ask them to place help us."
The current urgent care shelter called "Opportunity Zone" helps kids three days a week, but it needs more beds, more food and more staff. Brewer wants to see it open to those in need anytime.
"We certainly want to give them a new opportunity and a new chance at their life, no matter what may have happened," Brewer said.
Jennifer White works with young survivors of human trafficking. She says the emergency shelter makes getting help more comfortable.
"It's kind of a neutral territory," White said. "It's not the children's home, so it's not part of the system. It's kind of their own place."
Mayor Brewer says $2 million will provide that safe haven for the next decade.
"We're very sympathetic to homeless youth and they're all willing to come forward," White said. "We always have somebody willing to come forward and help. In this particular case, that's what we're hoping will happen with them."
A homeless count will take place at Century II Expo Hall Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers will be interviewing families in need of housing and supportive services. Hygiene kits and winter weather accessories will also be provided.
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