"Stay at Home" order in Springfield leaves agencies scrambling to assist the homeless

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- On this first day of the "stay at home" order in Springfield, some wish they had a place to stay.

Homeless are fortunate enough to have a place to shelter in place, like at The Kitchen’s emergency shelter, but others have nowhere to go, and are even missing some of those resources they usually have.

Nicole Williams and Blake Allen usually head to the Veterans Coming Home Center every morning.

"You get breakfast, you get to see your friends, you get to relax a little bit, watch some TV, do your laundry, get some coffee, take a nap, there’s lockers here," said Allen.

Just over a week ago, the center served more than 165 people in one day. It can only allow seven at a time inside for just a few minutes, so they can’t offer as much.

"We want to be able to allow everybody to access our building, and showers and laundry just take too much time," said Chris Rice, paster of the Veterans Coming Home Center.

It leaves many with no place to go,

"It’s scary," said Nicole Williams. "I mean, you just try to deal with it."

"Basically, it’s just kind of wandering around aimlessly, just trying to find a place to relax for a few minutes," said Blake Allen.

The center is serving breakfast and lunch outside and trying to prevent gatherings of more than ten.

"It feels as though we are just being told, you can’t do this, you can’t do this, you can’t do this," said Rice. "And it makes it really hard for us to do our job."

The Kitchen Inc. has also had to make adjustments, including at their emergency shelter.

"We’re not allowing outside visitors to come into the shelter," said Meleah Spencer of The Kitchen.

They’re thankful the shelter was designed with 14 individual apartments, each with a bathroom and small kitchen.

"So for us, physical distancing means staying in your apartment as much as possible," said Spencer.

The agency is still helping others seeking housing, over the phone as much as possible and taking precautions when in person.

"We’ve made every attempt to continue everything that we’re doing," said Spencer.

But it’s a challenging time for those already facing homelessness.

"But it does make you even more appreciative when someone does offer help or any type of kindness or anything," said Allen.

Agencies serving the homeless are needing your donations right now. They are asking for hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, food and hygiene supplies, especially toilet paper.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.