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Catholic Charities in Springfield opens former Rancho Motel as temporary homeless shelter

Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 4:52 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - There is a new shelter option for homeless families in Springfield this winter, as homeless service providers struggle to find enough space for people during the pandemic.

Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri opened the former Rancho Motel on East Kearney in Springfield as a temporary homeless shelter. There are already eight adults and 14 kids staying at the shelter, with more arrivals planned.

Catholic Charities already works with families to provide rapid rehousing and prevent homelessness. Representatives of the charity saw the need this winter for emergency shelter. From their involvement in the Ozarks Alliance to End Homelessness and the Homeless COVID-19 Task Force, they have learned of the rising number of homeless families.

“With this pandemic, so many people have lost their jobs or had reduction in work hours, and they’re finding themselves homeless as families, people who’ve never been homeless before,” says Maura Taylor, Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri executive director. “And they’re in need of a safe place to shelter and kind of regroup and get their lives back together.”

O’Reilly Hospitality owns the former Rancho Motel and is allowing the nonprofit to use it at no cost, as a temporary homeless shelter for families and women recovering from medical procedures.

Catholic Charities received about $300,000 in Greene County CARES Act funding to get the shelter up and going and operate it until the end of the year. The non-profit says it received about $73,000 from a state Emergency Solutions Grant to keep it open through April.

Bishop Edward Rice blessed the facility Wednesday morning. The nonprofit says it got the buildings ready in just 3 weeks, with its own home repair crew. There are new beds and blankets, refrigerators, microwaves and bathrooms in each space. The shelter can house up to 16 families, and provides meals, a laundry facility, case management, and even security cameras and patrols. They want families to feel safe as they go through a difficult time.

“We’ve tried to think of all the things that would make a family feel comfortable, safe, and have an opportunity to work toward finding permanent housing and self-sufficiency. That is our ultimate goal,” says Taylor.

Families are referred to the emergency shelter by the single access point for homeless services in Springfield, One Door. Those needing shelter can call One Door at (417)225-7499.

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