Area agencies look to update programs and services following recent homeless count

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Springfield's annual "point in time" count will show community leaders where to focus efforts to end homelessness. Now agencies are working on a plan of action.

Preliminary numbers indicate more than 100 youth and at least 165 adults currently experience some form of homelessness.

The Kitchen Inc's housing director Randy McCoy says the count is only a snapshot of the problem. Some people didn't know about the count or couldn't make it to the resource fair so the actual number of homeless adults in Springfield is estimated to be closer to 300.

In the coming weeks a team of researchers will divide the numbers into individual breakouts by population. Once organizations know how many are veterans, disabled, face chronic homelessness and other key break downs, they'll be better able to design programs to fit the needs of the homeless.

"The community will have to look at those numbers and decide if we need additional emergency shelter to get people off the streets, and what kind of services we need to build into it. At The Kitchen Inc. our mission is to prevent and end homelessness so we want to work towards having a point in time count that is zero," explained McCoy.

Local housing officials say the number of homeless youth has more than doubled over the past year, and that's a big area of focus going forward. McCoy says a homeless youth subcommittee is working on a long-term plan to end homelessness among teens and young adults.
The Rare Breed has doubled it's rapid re-housing program in the past year, and will continue efforts to help those in this age group.

A final report will be released in November 2017 giving an in-depth look at the individual break-outs by population from this homeless count, and detailing programs and services designed to fit their needs.

ABOUT THE HOMELESS COUNT
“Every One Counts” takes place yearly to meet 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. Data collected also assists the work of the Missouri Governor’s Committee to End Homelessness. Service providers and policymakers use the information to address homelessness-related issues at national, state, and local levels. Previous reports can be viewed at www.cpozarks.org/endhomelessness.