In answer to the bitter cold, a Kansas City Salvation Army team that deals with the camp-living homeless will be out for the next three nights. The numbers served are small, but the services are life-saving.
On a Summer night, relief volunteers see about a hundred people in the makeshift camps. Numbers dwindle to 30 or 60 a night when the harshest winter hits.
Sean Tyson runs emergency and disaster aid for the Salvation Army, which brings clothing and warm food to people in woods along the Missouri River and its bridges and West Bottoms.
“The ability to adapt and overcome and to survive in those elements speaks volumes to human nature," Tyson says. " And then the mere fact that some of these folks have been on the streets for eight, nine, 10 years.”
Cold weather rules are in place for utility customers. From November to March, the Easiest Payments Plan is available to natural gas customers.
Jenny Gobble Speaks for Missouri Gas and Electric, which provides heating gas for Kansas City, St. Joseph and Joplin.
“This enables our eligible customers to keep gas service or restores gas service by making an initial payment and then begin a monthly balance payment plan,” says Gobble.
People totally unable to pay for heat can call United Way at 211 to learn how help works in the town where they live.