background_fid.png
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

What should Springfield do to reduce homelessness? City Council hears ideas

Michelle Garand with Community Partnership of the Ozarks introduced a new study by consultants offering options for Springfield City Council to address homelessness on July 26, 2022.
Gregory Holman
/
Michelle Garand with Community Partnership of the Ozarks introduced a new study by consultants offering options for Springfield City Council to address homelessness on July 26, 2022.

Springfield has millions in new federal funding to help address the local housing crisis. City Council heard ideas from consultants on Tuesday on how to spend the money.

Right now Springfield city leaders have access to a windfall of federal funds for homelessness aid.

$5 million comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and $7 million more from the American Rescue Plan Act.

On Tuesday, City Council spent 90 minutes hearing from consultants on what to do. Among their suggestions — a community campaign to fight stigma about homelessness. A campaign would also encourage landlords to take a chance renting homes to formerly unsheltered folks.

Zone 1 Councilwoman Monica Horton told KSMU she attended a recent neighborhood association meeting — along with a few Springfield residents who don’t have secure places to live. She said it was a lively conversation and wondered how that type of dialogue could help more people understand the realities of being homeless.

“I would say that the community campaign would have to go beyond just reaching out to landlords and recruitment, and could be embedded in neighborhood associations,” Horton said.

'Empowerment centers' proposed

Meanwhile, Zone 2 Councilman Abe McGull said Springfield needs a network of “empowerment centers” to help with things like job applications, personal hygiene and criminal expungements.

“When I think of homelessness, though, I think of two things: Bad luck or bad choices,” he said.

McGull's idea would be to help people make good choices.

Consultants wrote their study after recent meetings with 182 unsheltered Springfield community members. Study authors praised Springfield for efforts currently underway to ensure housing help for everyone. A few of their examples included daytime services from The Connecting Grounds, help getting housing via One Door — and creative housing models like Eden Village and Revive 66 campground.

Gregory Holman is a KSMU reporter and editor focusing on public affairs and investigations.