Motel emergency housing for homeless continues in Springfield, but some losing assistance amid COVID-19 spike

Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 12:28 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 25, 2021 at 4:40 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - For more than a year now, many people experiencing homelessness who are at high risk for COVID-19 have been housed in motels across Springfield.

Adam Bodendieck, director of homeless services for the Community Partnership of the Ozarks, says they have housed more than 1,300 people in emergency shelters since the pandemic began.

More than 100 high-risk people are in motels right now through the One Door program. One Door is the single contact point for all homeless shelter services in Springfield.

However, since the program for those at high-risk for COVID-19 is an emergency one, time has run out for some people. It is prompting some concerns as southwest Missouri sees another spike in COVID-19 cases.

Bodendieck says some people housed at the start of the pandemic are still sheltered because they are particularly vulnerable. But for others, time has run out.

“We do make sure that we are connecting and it’s not a surprise for anybody. They know what’s going on. We make sure that their assessment is up to date. We make sure that they are connected with any other potential housing programs, any services, any shelter services. We certainly want to make all of that available,” says Bodendieck.

For Harold Cotter and his wife Debby, Motel 6 has been home for nearly 11 weeks. But their funding runs out July 1st. They say they’ve known for a few weeks.

“We’ve been told that the funding for that program is kind of like running really, really thin,” Cotter says.

“We could always use additional funding. We have cobbled together multiple funding sources to keep this going for as long as it has,” says Bodendieck. “It is a time-limited emergency shelter program.”

Bodendieck says everyone housed in a hotel room is offered a chance to work with a case manager on a long term housing plan.

“We’ve seen some success stories. That’s not always the case” Bodendieck says.

Some leave for permanent or subsidized housing. But residents at Motel 6 say many are losing their funding now, without a plan, and a federal voucher program for the homeless is not yet available.

Cotter and his wife will try to cover the room rent themselves until something long term works out.

“But we haven’t, they haven’t, found anything as of yet,” Cotter says.

Bodendieck says that federal voucher program that will help people with housing long-term won’t be available for at least another week, maybe a month. He says the best thing people can do right now is keep their assessment with One Door up to date.

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