SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Jay Glick opened his auto body shop on East Kearney five years ago and to this day, he’s still getting used to his neighbors.
“They’ve been here since day one,” he says. “My employees have seen them throwing knives at somebody. Women screaming.”
You see that’s because the homeless camp behind his office is said by the city of Springfield to house anywhere between 50 to 100 people.
“It’s been the subject of many complaints,” says Former City Mayor, Jim O’Neal. He led a presentation about that camp Tuesday afternoon.
“We have a unique opportunity to eradicate a problem that continues to grow,” he says.
According to O’Neal and other city leaders, Springfield is set to start a removal process in the next month.
“It’s a combination of resources to try to elevate what is a public health and safety issue,” he explains.
Though he says it isn’t just about removing people from the area, it’s also about finding them help once they’ve left.
“We want to be immediately and readily available to support them any way we can,” O’Neal assures.
For that reason, he says local homeless outreach groups–partnering with the city– will set up posts during the camps shut down.
Randy McCoy with outreach group the Kitchen says it’s not a perfect plan but it is maybe the city’s best option at this point.
“I think we’re on the path to the right way,” McCoy says. “To serve the folks that are there, and address their issues, that would be a great start.”
That concern is one we heard echoed by Jay Glick.
“God knows, unfortunately, what’s happening back there,” he says.
Who says, more than their relocation, he’s hoping for his neighbors’ safety.
“Without assistance, it might take something really bad or somebody getting hurt before something really gets done,” he says.