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Former Springfield City Manager Receives Naming Honor

Michele Skalicky

The training center at the O’Reilly Center for Hope in Springfield will be named for retired Springfield city manager, Greg Burris.  The Greg Burris Training Center will be the “heart” of the Center for Hope, according to Charlie O’Reilly, a member of the family the center is named after.

He credited Burris for standing up for those less fortunate and for creating awareness that the community must work together to address homelessness.

The Center for Hope, at the former Pepperdine Elementary School, will be a community-centered hub for affordable housing and homelessness prevention services, education and other resources. 

O’Reilly said Burris recruited him and businessman Lynn Thompson to co-chair the Mayor’s Task Force on Crisis Sheltering, an effort that later led to the creation of the O’Reilly Center for Hope.

According to the City of Springfield, former mayor, Bob Stephens, appointed a 17-member, diverse task force in September 2015, which issued four recommendations, including the reduction of the need for crisis sheltering through shelter diversion. A key piece was the funding of additional diversion specialists at One Door, the community’s one-stop shop for homeless prevention services and the funding of a new facility for the Springfield Affordable Housing Center where One Door and other partners are currently housed.

Last year, City Council approved a plan that outlined priority projects.  Those included $1 million in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding for a new facility for One Door and Springfield Affordable Housing Center. The funds will be used to restore the historic Pepperdine  building and expand services to include Burrell Behavioral Health, OACAC, Legal Services of Southern Missouri, Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri, Family Support Division and the Springfield Police Department.

Donations for the center can be made through the Burris Community Development Fund, which has been set up at the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. 

Checks may be sent here:

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks

P.O. Box 8960

Springfield, MO 65801

Online donations may be made at  Type “Burris Community Development Fund” in the Other Gift Designation line.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.