Springfield, MO.- (5/18/17)
A community coming together today to help the homeless near Glenstone and Kearney street which have according to local business owners caused problems lately.
Michael Bloom, a local businessman says, “A lot of panhandling in the lobby lately, in the parking lot, break-ins to cars, going to the bathroom in the parking lot, and hypodermic needles all over the place and a lot of intimidation with our guests coming in”.
The holiday inn, just one of the businesses on North Glenstone that has been effected by the increase in abrasive homeless activity, and its only gotten worse with time
“The homeless community has almost doubled in size” Bloom continued.
But when the homeless have nowhere else to turn… its time for local outreach agencies to step in and provide support
Jim O'Neal, of the Ozarks Alliance of End Homelessness adds, “What we’re dealing with in this particular situation is the concentration of this one particular camp, which is uniquely large and situation an its location and the longevity and the existence of the camp kind of puts it at the top of the list”.
Bloom continued, “18 years ago, coming down here, it seemed like if you broke the law, you got the fullest extent of the law, now, its like a slap on the hand”.
The organizations here today are hoping to begin the outreach by early next month, which will include case management, overnight shelter, and access to other services like housing, and basic needs for the homeless camping in the woods.
“Basically they’ll go in, and clean up all of the ground cover, and then raise the canopy if you will so that its got a minimum clearance of 6 feet, and once that’s done, then there is a transparency through the entire property” says O'Neal.
Even after the camp is cleared, business owners say homelessness in Springfield will remain a problem until the ‘real’ disease, poverty, is addressed.