SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A homeless outreach in Springfield is sharing its latest count of how many homeless people are in Springfield.

The Connecting Grounds is a church and homeless outreach in Springfield. The group began tracking people who did not have shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic. Connecting Grounds regularly adds people to their database and notes the date someone spoke with them.

The Connecting Grounds Street Census is updated regularly. The latest numbers from August 5, 2022, showed 2,280 people who meet the federal government’s definition of being homeless.

In a Facebook post, Connecting Grounds explained this is an increase of 883 people since early June. The reason for the jump is not an increase of 883 people within two months, but a result of the team completing an audit of local hotels.

“It was important to work to improve the accuracy of this number, and by doing so, we believe this is a much more realistic picture of those without stable shelter in our community,” the post said.

The definition of homelessness, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is a long one that can be summed up as “an individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” The full definition is on the Connecting Grounds website.

Here is a breakdown of where the homeless population in Springfield is staying according to the Connecting Grounds street census:

  • 676 are on the streets or in camps.
  • 123 are living in cars.
  • 851 are living in motels.
  • 163 are staying with friends and family.
  • 467 are in a shelter or program.

At least one new affordable housing project is in the works in Springfield. In late July, The Kitchen broke ground on Maplewood Villas. According to The Kitchen, 11 of the units will be set aside for homeless veterans.