Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Homeless Surge Spurs Action: Baby It's Cold Outside

Today, I am proud of My City.

From this morning's SN-L comes this lede:

The homeless in Springfield frantically searching for an emergency-shelter bed could soon turn to facilities that have been off-limits -- local churches.
Reacting to the swelling numbers of homeless people flooding local agencies, the City Council next Monday will vote on a resolution declaring the city to be in an economic calamity.

If approved, churches and other facilities long hamstrung by zoning regulations will be allowed to open their doors to homeless.

The City sent out this news release this morning on the same subject:
The Springfield City Council will consider at its Dec. 14, 2009 meeting a resolution to expand the definition of “emergency shelters” to allow more types of buildings in Springfield to be used to house and provide food for people who are homeless.

Council Bill 2009-308 will declare an “economic calamity” based on the current Greene County and Missouri unemployment rates of more than 8 and 9 percent respectively. It would remain in effect until May 1, 2010, or the local unemployment rate drops to 5 percent for two months in a row, whichever occurs first.

The resolution is intended to address the need for additional temporary shelter space based on the waiting lists for families and individuals to be placed at recognized homeless services’ facilities. The resolution will move forward for the Dec. 14 agenda after receiving endorsement from the newly formed Task Force for Homeless Young Children at its initial meeting Tuesday.

If the resolution is approved Monday, it would allow individuals, churches or other agencies that meet building, safety and health codes to voluntarily offer temporary shelter or offer food without being defined for that use in the City land-development code. The Springfield Fire Department would perform an initial inspection and possible random inspections during this time period to assure that life-safety requirements are met.

One of the comments at the end of the SN-L article:
This is Jim Harriger, Executive Director of Victory Mission. The Church is already involved in helping the poor and homeless in our community! Individual churches do it in so many ways that they honestly can not all be counted. The Victory Mission, the Missouri Hotel and the Salvation Army are full. It is cold. What is moving forward is a delclartion of "calamity", which allows a local church --cleared theough the Council of Churches (don't get hung up on this)-- to take people in. It is cold. Right now it doesn't matter why a person needs shelter, it is cold. What they did in the past doesn't matter. As a community we need to get them in out of the cold.Because of the Commercial Street Task Force, we have an awareness of the issue in a way that we haven't have for several years. NOW is the time to come together, to get over the name calling, accusations and criticism and get on with helping families learn how to earn a living, take care of themselves and contribute back

Explanation to Council Bill 2009-308.

Matthew 25: 35-40

Finally, please no more references to "skin in the game", "800 pound gorillas" and "eating elephants".


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Your scarf it was apricot

Andrea said...

May I include the photo above in a slide presentation to be shown at my local church. I'm looking for pictures of hurting people. Thanks for your consideration.