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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Mayor Bob Stephens announced Wednesday, Sept. 16, the formation of a task force on crisis sheltering. Describing the numbers of people in need of immediate shelter, as “mind boggling,” Stephens said the lack of crisis shelter facilities in Springfield has reached a crisis level. More than 800-plus students enrolled in Springfield Public Schools are homeless. Five hundred thirty-three families this year have made in-person contact with One Door, Springfield’s point of entry for homeless services, run by Community Partnership of the Ozarks to provide assessments and referrals to shelter-related services in Greene, Christian, and Webster counties. Included in these 533 families are 1,033 children. At this time, our community has 48 units available for direct placement into emergency or transitional shelter for families with children. If these 48 units are already occupied (which they are most of the time), the family has few options – living in their car (if they have one), “couch surfing,” or being split up (for example, the father to Victory Mission, the mother to Safe to Sleep, and the children to Isabel’s House. Long-time philanthropist and community leader Charlie O’Reilly has stepped up, alongside business owner Lynn Thompson, to co-chair the task force, which has a charge from the Mayor to bring back recommendations within 60 days of the first meeting. The group’s plan should (a) provide additional crisis shelter units for families and/or (b) reduce the number of families placed in this crisis situation with a goal of meeting the current need. Members include: •Charlie O’Reilly (Co-chair)
•Lynn Thompson (Co-chair)
•Rev. Ken Chumbley, Christ Episcopal Church
•Janet Dankert, Community Partnership of the Ozarks
•Andrew Garton, The Network
•David Jayne, Central Assembly
•Russ Marquart, Central Bank of the Ozarks
•Debi Meeds, United Way of the Ozarks
•Marty Moore, Springfield Public Schools
•Ruscell Pavlin, Community Member
•Mary Kay Ross, Community Member
•Don Simpson, Missouri State University
•Mike White, Mayor’s Commission on Children
# # # For more information, contact: Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, 417-864-1009 (office) | 417-380-3352 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org.