SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Springfield community leaders hope to bring more awareness to local homelessness
Community Partnership of the Ozarks Alliance to End Homelessness is hosting a community conversation on Thursday, Nov. 7, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. called “dispelling myths about homelessness.
The top myths people have about the homeless are:
- Why don’t they get a job
- They’re all mentally ill or on drugs
- Kids ran away because they didn’t like their parent’s rules
Community Partnership of the Ozarks has invited members from several organizations to participate in a group discussion.
Michelle Hethcoat of CPO said the goal of the event is to get honest information out to the public about what causes homelessness and the experiences people who are homeless have.
Hethcoat says there are a lot of myths associated with homelessness.
She said people often think someone who is homeless is lazy and should just get a job.
However, Hethcoat says it’s important to remember that no two people share the same story.
One person who went through homelessness was Jennie March.
“I think that people in general view homeless people as either being lazy, drug addicts or alcoholics,” March said.
But March says that’s not always the case.
He plead guilty to first-degree domestic assault charges.
An abusive marriage ended in divorce turned her world upside down.
“I filed for divorce during that time. I became homeless afterward. I really didn’t have anywhere to go,” March said.
March says people she once knew treated her different the moment she lost everything.
“People that I used to work with that looked directly through me or at me with a look of disgust on their face because I was dirty and I was carrying a backpack,” March said. “You could obviously tell I was homeless, and that hurt.”
She says everyone deserves to be treated like a person.
“Just a smile or a kind word maybe will make the difference between them taking their life that day or not,” March said.
March says with help she is now gainfully employed and has a place to call her own.
“Every month when I got to pay my rent I do it with a smile on my face and I am just so grateful to be able to do that,” March said.
For more information about the alliance to end homelessness, please visit www.cpozarks.org/endhomelessness.
For more information about the community partnership of the Ozarks efforts and programs, visit www.cpozarks.org.