By Macy Marie, Ozarks News Brief
SPRINGFIELD – Seeing someone ask for change downtown or on a street corner is a familiar image, but not many stop to ask why.
Most people do not like to talk about those who are homeless
Kyle Wadlow, from Springfield, says, “I try to avoid them. I mean, they’re just people but I feel like other people try to avoid them too and don’t want to talk to them. It’s kind of a negative impact of our kind of society now days. We just don’t want to talk to homeless people.”
The number of homeless people is growing in Springfield, whether or not the issue is ignored.
A survey done by the city of Springfield and the Community Partnership of the Ozarks found that on a typical day there are about 300 homeless people and people at risk of being homeless in city limits. And those are just the individuals that can be counted.
One organization is taking a stance on how to look past stereotypes and help with housing for those in need.
The Ozark’s Affordable Housing Agency helps house and relocate families while also helping them find legal assistance.
Michelle Garand, the Director of Affordable Housing and Homeless Prevention, says, “A typical day at the affordable housing center is very busy. We typically have individuals that are waiting at our door at 9 a.m. when we open and we see a constant flow of individuals throughout the day.”
The organization says Springfield’s need for assistance can be overwhelming. It often serves around sixty individuals a day.
“Even though I’ve worked in this field for a long time, the number of individuals and households that are experiencing homelessness is just mind boggling. The resources just aren’t there,” says Garand.
The program plans to continue to work with other agencies in order to one day end homelessness in the city.