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Homeless Count Reveals Hundreds Without Proper Shelter

Theresa Bettmann

Thursday’s annual Every One Counts homeless tally indicates more than 300 individuals currently experience some form of homelessness locally.

The numbers gathered by Community Partnership of the Ozarks and other local agencies show that at least 160 people are currently without any type of shelter.

The yearly event is held to meet critical mandates by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which provides more than $1 million in funding and support for homeless services in the Ozarks. CPO says that previous counts have shown an average of 750 homeless individuals at any given time in Greene County with an average 250 of those individuals not having any source of shelter.

According to a news release, the figures were calculated from surveys completed by guests at the main “Every One Counts” event at the Shrine Mosque, as well as some additional scattered locations throughout Springfield. Volunteers also visited various sites across the community to document the number of homeless individuals. Missouri State University’s Sociology Department will combine this information with that from additional partner sites throughout Greene, Christian and Webster counties and is expected to release a full report later this year.

“The information collected during ‘Every One Counts’ is more than numbers,” said Michelle Garand, deputy director of Affordable Housing and Homeless Prevention. “At Community Partnership, we truly believe every one counts. That’s why it’s important for our neighbors in need to be able to connect one-on-one with our partners who provide crucial services, resources and supplies. We are able to interact with those we serve, and to learn who they are, where they are and what their individual barriers are—opening opportunities for support and pathways to helping them become self-sufficient.”

Data collected during Every One Counts also assists in the work of the Missouri Governor’s Committee to End Homelessness. Service providers and policymakers use the information to address homelessness-related issues at state and local levels.