Statue looks to bring Topeka's homeless into the light

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)- The City of Topeka is looking to bring the invisibility of the homeless into the light.

Mayor Larry Wolgast was joined by Topeka Rescue Mission Director Barry Feaker and Community Resource Center CEO GR Laughlin outside of City Hall Monday. They were there to unveil a new statue that will stand outside of City Hall to bring attention to the issue of homelessness in the city.

“The purpose of this is, first of all, to make people aware,” Wolgast said. “We have homeless in the community. Secondly, to be supportive of those agencies that deal in this area.”

The 2016 Point In Time Homeless Count shows 417 people without a permanent place to call home in Topeka. Of those, 33 percent of whom were adults with children.

The statue being placed at City Hall features the silhouette of a person with a park bench with the shadow of a house. Wolgast says it’s to symbolize that park benches often become homes to hose affected by homelessness.

“The silhouette shows an invisible person to emphasize that the homeless among us many times are invisible, they’re living within our community, but yet many times we are unaware of them,” he said.

Topeka joins a growing list of capital city’s with similar figurines including Charleston, S.C., Juneau, Alaska and Little Rock, Ark.