Advocates making a plan for Springfield's homeless problem

Friday, December 11, 2009 | 12:01 p.m. CST

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield officials, social service agencies and church leaders are working to find the best way to help a burgeoning homeless population in the city.

The city's emergency management director met Thursday with the Council of Churches of the Ozarks to discuss ways to open more shelters in a city where current shelters have been overwhelmed by demand.

Ryan Nicholls told church leaders it might be best for them to find facilities that will house up to 20 people, rather than dispersing homeless people over several sites.

The meeting came as the City Council prepares to consider a resolution that would lift zoning regulations and allow churches to serve as homeless shelters until May 1. A task force of social agencies and the Council of Churches is trying to devise a plan to respond if the council passes the resolution.

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