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Community Organizations Count Homeless Unsheltered

Missouri Hotel

Volunteers with the “Every One Counts” Unsheltered Homeless Count Campaign were out in the community working hard Wednesday to find out how many people are without shelter in Christian, Greene, and Webster Counties. KSMU’s Justin Lux reports.

With many people out of work, homelessness is an unfortunate reality for some families and individuals. The “Every One Counts” campaign, along with the Community Partnership, Burrell Homeless Services, the Kitchen, Inc and other organizations are working to improve the lives of those who don’t have shelter.

As part of the campaign volunteers are out in the community gathering information on those who are without a place to stay. The study is part of a statewide count of the homeless population that is taking place. Alissa Jecklin is the chair of the Homeless Count Task Force.

“We do a really long survey. It takes about 15 or 20 minutes for them to complete. And that is going to ask them about all of the services they’ve used, what they need, there experiences in homelessness, those kinds of things. To help figure out what we can do better,” says Jecklin.

The Community Partnership says that the information will be gathered and then given to providers and policymakers to address the problem of homelessness on the local level.

To help get a count of the unsheltered homeless population, organizers held an event at the Missouri Hotel in Springfield on Wednesday.

Many of the organizations involved helped provide items such as tents and sleeping bags that were available to those who attended through raffles.

Tom Jones, who recently lost his job, won one of the tents. He says he sometimes has a place to stay at night. Jones, who was homeless once before in 2006, says the shelters available to him have dramatically improved in the last four years.

“The Victory Mission is a lot bigger than it use to be, it use to be down the street and it was just like you spent the night on a mat on the floor. Now they bought the old nursing home up there. They actually have beds and a locker you can put your stuff in. It’s a lot better,” Jones says.

The study requires that all people taking the surveys detail whether they are typically unsheltered or often stay at a shelter. The survey will help the community receive funding for homeless and housing services.

For KSMU News, I’m Justin Lux.

Missouri Hotel, located on Commercial Street, is one of many locations which provides shelter for people who are in need. (Photo by: Brittni Bynum) Alissa Jecklin, Chair of the Homeless Count Task Force, provides education and services which will enable residents to become self sufficient and fulfilled. (Photo by: Brittni Bynum) These are some of the important essentials, such as sunscreen and lip balm, donated to people who reach out for help at The Missouri Hotel. (Photo by: Brittni Bynum) Tom Jones is one of many who utilizes the help that is provided by The Missouri Hotel. (Photo by: Brittni Bynum) Jessica Bray, a volunteer, helps serve food to those in need. (Photo by: Brittni Bynum)