by Jacque Harkness
Community Partnership’s Ozarks Alliance To End Homelessness and many of its collaborative partners will team up for the annual Every One Counts campaign, which is the local Point in Time Count, Jan. 30. This event meets 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. Previous counts have shown an average of 500 individuals are experiencing homelessness at any given time in our community. Of those, approximately 195 individuals do not have any source of shelter.
“Accurate data is essential to help support our goal of making homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring in Springfield and the surrounding area,” said Amanda Stadler, Coordinator of the Continuum of Care for Greene, Webster and Christian counties.
Efforts to connect with adults experiencing homelessness will be headquartered at the Shrine Mosque, 601 St. Louis St., from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Partner agencies will be onsite to distribute needed survival items and offer direct health and housing services, including Veteran-specific services. Attendees will also receive breakfast and lunch, donated by advocacy group Gathering Friends for the Homeless and Bambinos. Free shuttle services will run in a continuous loop between the Shrine Mosque and local homeless drop-in center Veterans Coming Home. Guests should enter the Shrine Mosque through the North doors.
A separate event specifically for youth (those between ages 13 and 24) will be held at the Shrine Mosque from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Partner agencies will be on-site to offer health, employment, education and housing services. Youth attendees will also receive door prizes and a free meal. Youth are asked to complete the High Risk and Homeless Youth survey at this event, enabling the Homeless Youth Task Force to release an annual High Risk and Homeless Youth Report.
The Every One Counts campaign is a collaborative effort of Community Partnership’s Ozarks Alliance to End Homelessness and the Council of Churches. Data collected during Every One Counts is used at the federal, state and local levels to inform decision making related to funding, service provision and our community’s progress towards ending homelessness. Reports from previous campaigns can be found at www.cpozarks.org/endhomelessness.
For more information about the Ozarks Alliance to End Homelessness, visit www.cpozarks.org/endhomelessness.