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Formerly Homeless, Springfield Citizen Now Has “Stability, Security” at Beacon Village

Joyce Jewel
Scott Harvey

After spending nearly six months homeless, Joyce Jewel moved four different times in the span of two years before finding a place she can now call home.

“Being homeless into the hotel – the Missouri Hotel – from the Missouri Hotel to the KIND Place, from the KIND Place to the Ollis Building, from the Ollis Building to here; and this is like Heaven.”

Jewel is referring to her current three-bedroom, two and a half bath duplex on Springfield’s northwest side; part of the recently completed final phase of Beacon Village. Now, she has every intention of staying put.

“They are gonna have to pry me outa this place,” she quips. “I’m gonna be here till it falls apart. And it’s not gonna fall apart because it’s all new.”

With the second phase complete, Beacon Village now offers over 70 permanent housing units that cater to some of Springfield’s former homeless population and low-income citizens.

This project of the Kitchen Inc. and various community partners falls within the organization’s quest to end chronic homelessness called Housing First. Under this model, stable housing is provided up front and then officials work to meet the residents’ other basic needs. Kitchen CEO Rorie Orgeron says prior to Housing First the organization had just five case managers able to offer only minimal assistance to those leaving the Missouri Hotel. The former emergency shelter for the homeless has since closed.

Rorie Orgeron
Credit Scott Harvey / KSMU
Kitchen CEO Rorie Orgeron speaking at Beacon Village 2 dedication Friday.

“Now with this new model we have 22 case managers and as we’re moving people into the community we have case managers that will follow them into the community and continue to work with them and help them and make sure they have all of those wraparound services that they need to be able to be successful,” says Orgeron.

That includes on-site case managers at Beacon Village from both The Kitchen and Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri. Phase 1 – a mix of apartments and duplexes - was completed in summer 2014. Combined with the second phase, the nearly $12 million Beacon Village complex was aided in large part by low-income housing tax credits through the Missouri Housing Development Commission, says Orgeron.

Beacon Village
Credit Scott Harvey / KSMU
After blessing the new property in northwest Springfield, officials prepare to cut the ribbon at Beacon Village 2.

He adds that furnishings from mattresses to dining room tables are also provided within the units for those that need them.

Joyce Jewel - whom KSMU spoke with in 2014 upon the Missouri Hotel's announced closing - says her new residence offers “Stability, security, gives me the ability to raise my two grandkids.”

And the 13- and soon-to-be 12-year-olds have fit right in.

“They love it. They do – they love it. They’ve made friends out here. They can ride bikes; I don’t have to worry about them being on the street there. There was really no place for them to play over there [former residence].”

Later this month, The Kitchen will formally break ground on its newest permanent housing complex, Mcclernon Villas, in north central Springfield.

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