2016 ‘Every One Counts’ Campaign Releases Preliminary Numbers
Data indicates hundreds of homeless struggle to survive in this community
Community Partnership of the Ozarks’ Affordable Housing and Homeless Prevention Division collaborated with many local partners to conduct the annual “Every One Counts” Campaign, the local initiative in conjunction with the national Point In Time Homeless Count, Jan. 28, 2016. Preliminary numbers released from the count indicate more than 300 individuals are currently experiencing some form of homelessness in our community. At least 160 people are currently without any type of shelter.
These numbers are calculated from the surveys completed by guests at the main “Every One Counts” event at the Shrine Mosque, as well as some additional scattered locations throughout Springfield. Volunteers continued to work into the evening at various sites across the community to document the number of homeless individuals, including unsheltered men, women, youth and veterans. Missouri State University’s Sociology Department will combine this information with that from additional partner sites throughout Greene, Christian and Webster counties and is expected to release a full report later this year.
“The information collected during ‘Every One Counts’ is more than numbers,” said Michelle Garand, deputy director, Affordable Housing and Homeless Prevention. “At Community Partnership, we truly believe every one counts. That’s why it’s important for our neighbors in need to be able to connect one-on-one with our partners who provide crucial services, resources and supplies. We are able to interact with those we serve, and to learn who they are, where they are and what their individual barriers are—opening opportunities for support and pathways to helping them become self-sufficient.”
“Every One Counts” takes place yearly to meet critical mandates by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which provides more than $1 million in funding and support for homeless services in the Ozarks. Previous counts have shown an average of 750 homeless individuals at any given time in Greene County with an average 250 of those individuals not having any source of shelter.
Data collected during “Every One Counts” also assists in the work of the Missouri Governor’s Committee to End Homelessness. Service providers and policymakers use the information to address homelessness-related issues at state and local levels.
The “Every One Counts” campaign is a collaborative effort of Community Partnership’s Continuum of Care where, in addition to collecting information about homeless individuals in the area, partners distributed needed survival items and provided direct services for housing, basic needs and more. Breakfast and lunch was provided to guests by Bambinos restaurant and Chick-fil-A.
Collaborative partners include Abou Ben Adhem Shrine Mosque; AIDS Project of the Ozarks; Bill’s Place; Catholic Charities; Council of Churches; Family Support Division; Gathering Friends for the Homeless; Housing Authority of Springfield; and The Kitchen, Inc. Additional collaborative partners include Legal Services of Southern Missouri; Missouri Career Center; NAMI; OTC; Ozarks Community Hospital; Pregnancy Care Center; Safelink Wireless; Salvation Army; Springfield Victory Mission; Supportive Services for Veterans Families; United Way of the Ozarks; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; and more.