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When Community Partnership of the Ozarks (CPO) recently announced the future plans to turn the former Pepperdine Elementary School building into the O’Reilly Center for Hope, they deliberately held back one piece of information. Charlie O’Reilly, speaking on behalf of the O’Reilly family – Charlie & Mary Beth, David, Larry and Rosalie O’Reilly Wooten – wanted to hold the announcement of the special naming of its training center, until City Manager Greg Burris completed his tenure. Burris resigned as City Manager, effective June 30.
The Greg Burris Training Center will be the “heart” of the Center for Hope, Charlie O’Reilly said. In conjunction with the naming, a fund has been created in Greg Burris’ honor at Community Foundation of the Ozarks to benefit the O’Reilly Center for Hope. O’Reilly credited Burris with standing up for those less fortunate and for creating an awareness in the community that “we must collectively work together to address homelessness in our community in order to pave the way for future vibrancy.”
O’Reilly said Burris recruited he and businessman Lynn Thompson to co-chair the Mayor’s Task Force on Crisis Sheltering, an effort that later led to the creation of the O’Reilly Center for Hope. Former Mayor Bob Stephens appointed a 17-member, diverse task force in September 2015, which issued four recommendations, including the reduction of the need for crisis sheltering through shelter diversion. A key piece was the funding of additional diversion specialists at One Door, the community’s one-stop shop for homeless prevention services and the funding of a new facility for the Springfield Affordable Housing Center, where One Door and other partners are currently housed.
The historic Pepperdine Elementary School will be transformed into the O’Reilly Center for Hope, a community-centered hub for affordable housing and homeless prevention services, education, and other resources vital to the growth of our community.
Last year, City Council approved a plan which outlined priority projects, which included $1 million in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding for a new facility for One Door and Springfield Affordable Housing Center. The funds will be used to restore the historic Pepperdine building and expand services to include Burrell Behavioral Health, OACAC, Legal Services of Southern Missouri, Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri, Family Support Division and the Springfield Police Department.
“We plan to expand our housing services and better connect people with resources,” explained Michelle Garand, CPO’s Vice-President of Affordable Housing & Homeless Prevention. “We will continue the long history of community-centric learning, providing a one-stop center for resources regarding housing and financial education. In addition, we will bring together community stakeholders -- residents, families, faith communities, agencies, government and law enforcement -- to build relationships and to leverage all resources to help neighborhoods flourish.”
Financial counseling and the ongoing Making Sense of Money financial literacy classes will take place in the Greg Burris Training Center, along with in-service training on tenant rights and responsibilities and the Tools for Life program; and home buyer opportunities and educational information. “We can help households understand the responsibilities of being a good renter, a good property owner, and a viable, connected member of a neighborhood community,” Garand said.
“Please consider making a donation to the Burris Community Development Fund to help support the important work that will take place at the O’Reilly Center for Hope,” O’Reilly said.
You may send a check to: Burris Community Development Fund
The Community Foundation of the Ozarks
P.O. Box 8960
Springfield, MO 65801
Or to give on-line, go to cfozarks.org/donate. Then type in “Burris Community Development Fund” in the Other Gift Designation line.
ABOUT COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP OF THE OZARKS
The mission of Community Partnership of the Ozarks is to facilitate and promote the building of resilient children, healthy families, and strong neighborhoods and communities through collaboration, programming and resource development. For more information on the Partnership’s collaborative efforts and programs, visit www.cpozarks.org.
ABOUT COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF THE OZARKSThe Community Foundation of the Ozarks is a public foundation serving the Missouri Ozarks. CFO is dedicated to working with its donors, nonprofit partners, and affiliated community foundations in meaningful and purposeful ways.
Founded in 1973, CFO has since grown to include 49 affiliate community foundations and more than 2,600 charitable funds totaling $268 million in assets, as of June 30, 2017.
For more information about the project, contact Community Partnership of the Ozarks at 417-889-2020.