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Joplin announces new plans to care for the homeless - KOAM TV 7

Joplin announces new plans to care for the homeless

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Joplin's Homelessness Implementation Plan Team is getting ready to dive back into the numbers for money and other resources needed to better care for the homeless.

Members of this implementation team say they were briefly interrupted by last year's tornado.

But they want their goals, established in 2008, to still be a part of Joplin's overall goal of redeveloping.

Before last year's tornado and the monumental cleanup afterward, including meetings with Joplin's master redeveloper, there were new plans of how to heal and care for the homeless.

But the coordinator of the homeless shelter Watered Gardens and members of Joplin's Homelessness Implementation Plan Team say the goals are still the same.

"Overall, we haven't seen much change in the number of needs that we're meeting, though," says James Whitford of Watered Gardens.

"Now, the way we might go about achieving them may have shifted," says Terry Wachter, the co-chair of the Homelessness Implementation Team.

In 2008, the City of Joplin coordinated a task force to discuss ways of better taking care of the homeless and preventing homelessness.  Task force members had three years to put plans into action.

Among the goals is a new permanent housing project for the homeless.

It's now been four years and the Salvation Army has announced plans to construct permanent housing in phases.

"What we're hoping is, just as with all of the other community issues since the storm, there have been opportunities for lots of funding, lots of other new ways of thinking," says Wachter.

Watered Gardens now offers overnight care for the homeless, which is paid for with vouchers.

The homeless work or volunteer to get these vouchers.

"Well you know as well as I do there are some people who don't want to play that game, they're not interested in earning anything - they just want a one way 'give me hand out,'" says Whitford.

And Homelessness Implementation Plan members say this reaffirms the need for a new rehab center.

Details of the rehab center, which would include drug abuse education, are still being worked out.

On Friday and Saturday, Watered Gardens will sponsor a conference learning about ways to reduce dependency on welfare.  It is being held at MSSU's Justice Center at 7 p.m.

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