For Immediate Release
Council to Consider "Calamity" Resolution
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.
Under the Springfield Zoning Ordinance, a declaration of “natural disaster” or “calamity” allows exceptions to the definition of a shelter and the Zoning Ordinance’s requirements for shelters.
For more information, contact: Ralph Rognstad, Planning Director, 864-1035.