Organizations Challenge Community to Partner in Homelessness Battle

Springfield Prepares to Clean Large Homeless Camp on Northeast Side

SPRINGFIELD, Mo -- The City of Springfield held a public meeting today in preparation to shut down one of the cities largest homeless camps. Upwards of 50 to 100 individuals will be ushered off private land in the coming weeks. 

It's a rhythm that local non-profits know all to well. One homeless camp shuts down, and another opens in it's place. Its a case of supply and demand. Local organizations are asking for the communities help in ending the trend. 

"One of the hardest things to do is to tell somebody you can't be here, but we have no where else for you to go," said Adam Bodendieck, the Director of 1 Door Program. It's a subsection of Community Partnership of the Ozarks.

It's the 1st that many homeless will see as they exit the woods on east Kearney in the coming weeks.

"If Mohammed won't go to the mountain, you bring the mountain to Mohammed. That's what we are trying to do," said Bodendieck. "It's not something that we take lightly and it's not something that is easy, but this is exciting. We are doing things differently than we have ever done before."

Its just one of many in a conglomerate of non-profits and organizations at the table for this project.

"We are offering shelter, long term housing, and support services," said Randy McCoy, the Director of Housing Programs The Kitchen. They are another organization involved in the process. 

The doors of the Missouri Hotel once held a 65% success rate for ending homelessness, however now remain locked in lieu of new approaches that are much more successful.

"Springfield is programs rich, and systems poor," said McCoy. 

Its one limitation, is community involvement.

"That takes more money, it takes more landlords who are willing to rent to individuals who are homeless. People who are homeless need jobs, so it also takes business owners who are willing to give a job to someone who may have been on the streets for a year," said McCoy. 

"There have been cities that have ended homelessness. The thing they all have in common is that the city, the non-profit agencies, the faith community and the churches, and the business leaders are all working together and all have skin in the game," explained Bodendieck. 

"They all acknowledge that this is a serious issue and that it is going to take everyone working together to solve it."

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