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Homelessness March Set for This Weekend to Rally Support

Rick Hill

Homeless advocates in Springfield say the issue has reached a troubling state, and will march Sunday afternoon in downtown to raise awareness.

In recent years, the number of people who experience some type of homelessness in Greene County has swelled to more than 300.  Cora Hanf says the number of those that lack any type of shelter is especially troubling.

“At the most recent count they’re estimating over 150, and I would say that’s even a conservative estimate. When you consider that we have less than 50 beds available at shelters right now, that’s a problem.” 

The founder of the march, Rick Hill, along with advocates like Hanf say their actions are in response to the results of the Mayor’s Task Force on Crisis Sheltering. The group, according to its Facebook page, says that although the findings had “good intentions,” the services recommended “do not exist in large enough quantities to provide immediate relief to individuals, much less families.”

The Task Force advised increasing the funding to One Door for the hiring of full-time employees for homeless case management. The coalition also suggested a shelter diversion program, but did not propose another shelter be built.

Hanf says that the main purpose of the march is to raise support for more services.  

“Getting some of these people out on the street where people driving by, walking by can actually see them I’m hoping will make a difference and get people to support the idea of additional shelter.”  

The advocates will also be providing lunches for homeless marchers as it is scheduled at the same time when a free lunch is provided at the Veterans Coming Home Center. The march is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

As of Thursday evening, over 135 people had expressed an interest in attending the march through its Facebook page.