Someone said each of us individually may be a snowflake, but put us all together and we’re an avalanche. Together we have the power to do some real good.
We have a crisis within a crisis in our city. A variety of long term systemic factors like low wages, lack of affordable housing, aging out of foster care with no support, lack of accessible mental health and addiction recovery treatments, racism, homo/transphobia, human trafficking, all play a part in homelessness in our city. Now, we have the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, like job losses leading to evictions, leading to even more people experiencing homelessness. COVID19 also means that overnight shelters need to create 6’ distance between cots out and adopt precautionary measures, so existing shelters have lowered capacity; the primary Men’s CCWS capacity slashed from 100 to 50. Additionally, past years’ regular volunteers are staying home because many are at higher risk for severe complications and death from COVID19. The situation has reached critical as we’re seeing freezing cold temperatures and hundreds of people experiencing homelessness in our community.
First Unitarian Universalist Church and National Avenue Christian Church are partnering with so many organizations and individuals to offer shelter this winter. In less than a week First UU went from entertaining the ask to opening their doors! On Saturday December 18, 2020 15 people were sheltered while temps dropped to 31 degrees, this will continue on all nights temps are at or below freezing through April, assuming we can keep it staffed. First UU is providing the building space and the heat and together we’re providing staff, volunteers, snacks, coffee, and other resources.
We need your help.
Sign-up to volunteer: http://bit.ly/ccwsvolunteer
Not sure what volunteering overnight entails? Watch the video and read the info at cpozarks.org/coldweather and reach out to Ashley Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 417.413.1969 (call or text) with further questions or complete this interest form.
Funds will be used to provide a staff person for overnights and potentially support additional shelters in opening.
Educate yourself and share with your networks. KSMU just did a great job on a series called Unsheltered. Here are some other local news stories.
This is specifically about the shelter we’re partnering with, https://www.news-leader.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2020/12/18/missouri-ozarks-springfield-third-church-offers-cold-weather-shelter-homeless/3960840001/
This Facebook Live video was an opportunity for unsheltered individuals, area pastors, advocates, and family members of some who have died of hypothermia to share their stories. There’s a sign-on letter to city leaders, as well.
Let’s be an avalanche of good in our community.