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City of Wichita, Homeless Outreach Team prepares for winter weather


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The City of Wichita and the Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) are preparing for the winter weather.

City of Wichita

With a winter mix turning to snow Tuesday night, the city of Wichita is grooming its streets for the weather.

“Staff are in full swing and began treating the roads around noon today with a mixture of sand and salt,” Acting Deputy Director of Public Works and Utilities Aaron Henning said Tuesday. “We were fully stocked with 6,000 tons of salt sand mix on hand and ready to deploy.”

According to Henning, the full deployment consists of 150 workers working around the clock, alternating over a 12-hour shift. The City also has 17,500 tonnes of pure salt in emergency reserve which can be used to produce up to 35,000 tonnes of the blend should the need arise.

“On average, we use about 1,000 tons of salt-sand mix per event, but this varies significantly depending on the amount and type of rainfall, the duration of the event and how cold the temperatures are,” said Henning.

Henning says that during the 2021-2022 winter season, the city used a total of about 12,000 tons of the salt-sand mix. The city has used about 5,000 tons so far this winter season.

With more than 5,000 lane miles of streets in Wichita, Henning says the city will treat streets for priority.

“We primarily focus on 1,500 lane miles of emergency routes and major thoroughfares, paying particular attention to major traffic routes that serve hospitals, emergency facilities and public schools,” Henning said. “And then, when conditions permit, we transition to designated secondary roads and residential school access roads. And those add up to about 300 additional lane miles.

Henning says the city does not care for or maintain federal or state highways, including Kansas Highway 96, Interstate 35, Interstate 125 and Kellogg’s.

The City of Wichita has over 60 dump trucks equipped with plows and material spreaders. You can track snow blowers at wichita.gov/snowremoval.

Homeless Assistance Team (HOT)

The Homeless Outreach Team says it will work during winter weather to connect homeless residents to services and get them into winter shelters.

“We are delivering our brochures and service information to area businesses and organizations to help connect people to services,” said agent Nate Schwiethale.

Schwiethale is encouraging the homeless to seek out shelters like United Methodist Open Door, Union Rescue Mission Wichita and/or HumanKind Ministries Emergency Winter Shelter, as he says extreme cold can turn deadly very quickly, especially in Kansas.

A complete list of lodging, lodging and dining services is available at wichita.gov/homeless.

If you notice that a person is in need of homeless services, Schwiethale encourages you to call HOT at 316-854-3013. You can also call United Way on 211 for a complete list of shelters, accommodations and food services. You can also visit 211Kansas.org.

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