(SPRINGFIELD, Mo.--01/25/18) The Community Partnership of the Ozarks Alliance to End Homelessness conducted its annual Every One Counts today to survey the number of individuals experiencing homelessness throughout Springfield.
"We’re trying to document the number of people that are experiencing homelessness within our community," explains Amanda Stadler, Neighborhood and Housing Stabilization Specialist, Community Partnership of the Ozarks.
Its called a Point In Time Count, a survey of the homeless population meant to give the city an idea of the number of people who could require services on any given day.
"It really helps us get a picture of who within our community is experiencing homelessness to make sure we are adapting our services to make sure we’re actually meeting their needs."
Stadler says the count will provide evidence of the progress being made to end homelessness, just as it highlights the challenges still to be overcome. Last year 500 people experiencing homelessness were counted, including 40 children.
"That’s just one snapshot of one specific night but that’s 500 people right here within our community that are experiencing homelessness and about 200 of those are unsheltered."
Under the U.S. Department of Housing and Development, Missouri is required to do the annual count in order to continue receiving federal funding for homeless programs.
"It punches you kind of in the heart because I think everybody does really have a different story. A story that you might not expect."
"It’s rough. It’s real blood sweat and tears out here. Everyday’s a struggle," explains Paul Sartin, one of the dozens of homeless in Springfield.
Sartin says he wants a semblance of his former life back after living on the streets for more than three years.
"Everything we had I lost. I don’t have nothing that I had now and I have very little. I don’t even have enough to fill three duffle bags, clothes and personal items."
Sartin says hes grateful for what the community is doing.
"There’s community outreach programs out here that do work, they’re there for those that want them, for those that can utilize them and get the help."