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Old 02-28-2009, 03:08 PM   #1
leeannwriter
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Homeless in Branson

Anyone else notice the story KY-3 did recently about the rising numbers of homeless in Branson?

If you missed it,

http://www.ky3.com/news/local/39773207.html

BRANSON, Mo. -- They check everything, strip the bedding and disinfect the entire room. It's how Trent Bryant and his fiancee, Sheena Marr, pay off their debt to live in one of Rosalee Motel's weekly rentals.
"There's usually a lot of people I hear of going to hotels and some of my friends have, and most of the hotels will help you out," said Bryant.

Thirty-three motels in Branson help fill the gap for the lack of affordable housing.

"It's hard enough to make money and pay the bills as it is and have to come up with $1,000 to $1,500 to get into a place (that) nobody can really afford it," Bryant said.

The last homeless count done in January shows 309 people in Stone and Taney counties are living in motels. A year ago that number was 80.

"In some cases we have found there are two to three families doubled up in a weekly rental," said Christopher Welch of Church Army in Branson.

While many people are living in weekly rentals in motels, at least 45 people in Branson are living in tents under bridges. And in Branson there are no homeless shelters.

The homeless count could eventually help Branson get government funding for education and training to give people a hand up.

In the meantime, area motels are doing what they can to help people like Bryant and Marr get back on their feet.

"I love it to death; really these are nice people. I don't know what I'd do without them so," said Bryant.




Or this one from the Branson Daily News:
By Mindy Honey
BDN Staff Writer
mhoney@bransondailynews.com

John Jeffers never dreamed he would be homeless, having once been a successful businessman in Chicago and married for 25 years.

Today, he wonders how he will stay warm at night and where he will get his next meal.

“It has not been good,” Jeffers said, recalling that he came to Branson from Chicago after a series of events, including a divorce, losing his business and his car being wrecked.

Jeffers has been in Branson a few weeks and has spent several days and nights in the woods behind a Branson hotel not far off 76 Country Boulevard.

He has stayed with his son and his son’s girlfriend at different weekly rentals, but has found himself, more often than not, out in the cold at night.

On Tuesday morning, Christopher Welch, the director of public relations for Church Army Branson, found Jeffers walking toward Branson Mall along 76 Country Boulevard. Jeffers said he was on his way to meet a friend.

“I don’t have anywhere else to go,” Jeffers said.

Welch, along with a couple of friends, Martin Higgins and Marsha Chambers, were out looking for homeless people — checking to make sure they were OK while offering blankets, hats and gloves.

Jeffers told Welch that being homeless isn’t easy, especially in the winter.

“It is like freezing to death,” he said, describing his nights.

Jeffers said he moved to Branson after his grandson was born.

“I heard from a guy in St. Louis this was a real nice town,” Jeffers said. “I ended up at the bus station in Springfield. I’m from the south side of Chicago. Those guys in Springfield are killers. That is a tough town. They are not friendly people.”

Jeffers said he wants to find a job, but hasn’t had much luck.

“In the past couple of weeks, I applied for 50 jobs,” he said. “Nobody is hiring until March. What am I supposed to do until March?”

Jeffers said for now, he will continue to return at night to what he calls a “landfill.” He said some people have tried to help him and several have even put him up in a hotel a night or two, but no one has a solution to his problem.

“I feel embarrassed,” he said. “I was in the car business 35 years. I went to college, off and on, seven years. I owned 28 percent of a car dealership in Chicago.”

He knows he is not alone in his situation.

“I see 35, 45, maybe 50 guys, walking down this street just like me,” he told Welch Tuesday morning.

Welch heads up the Point in Time Count, which sends volunteers throughout the county for a 24-hour survey of the homeless. The surveys are conducted in January and July each year.

In July 2008, the count found 192 people living in weekly rentals and 36 people, including nine children, were unsheltered in Taney County. In Stone County, 45 people were living in weekly rentals and eight were found to be homeless.

There is no homeless shelter in Stone or Taney counties, Welch said. He would like to see a warming center for the homeless in the wintertime.

He also hopes the Point in Time count on Jan. 28 will bring help for people like Jeffers.

“The important thing is to touch as many lives as we can, but the 28th is the day we can document,” Welch said.

On that day, homeless counts will be conducted in every county and the information gathered will help Welch and other social service organizations apply for money to help.

“We have a problem,” Welch said. “We may not have the numbers the big cities do, but even one person who is homeless is a problem.”
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Old 02-28-2009, 03:47 PM   #2
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Yup, the depth of our situation is more than some people want to admit. But I think all will be affected by it one way or the other.
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:05 PM   #3
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This is just so sad to read...I know we have alot of homeless here in our area, but we have shelters...Gateway Mission and Stewpot...just very sad to me...
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:15 PM   #4
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KY3 did another Homelessness in Branson story this evening. They said it is not as apparent as big city homelessness because it is in motels and cars and vans.

Springfield, itself, has had homeless camps and problems for some time.

http://www.ky3.com/news/ky3-project-...,6705313.story
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Old 09-24-2011, 11:52 AM   #5
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I'm not trying to "blame the victim", but why do they stay in Branson when there is a lower cost of living and year-round jobs available in nearby cities like Ozark and Nixa? It seems kind of like moving to Detroit and then wondering why you can't find a job...

And Springfield is a "tough town" compared to the south side of Chicago? That guy has SERIOUS perception problems.

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Old 09-24-2011, 12:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegrass4me View Post
They really shouldn't pick on you for being a liberal.
SOMEONE finally realizes that!



I really am a moderate... I think both sides are off the mark at times; I don't rigidly hold to either a conservative or a liberal point of view. Data showing the extremely high unemployment in Branson is readily available. Why would anyone move there and then be surprised at being unable to find a job?

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Old 09-24-2011, 12:56 PM   #7
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I dunno...but was it really necessary to dredge up an ancient leeann post?
I don't think so.
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Old 09-24-2011, 01:30 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by bluegrass4me View Post
I will only hazzard a guess. The man had lost his business/job, his family, his car from a wreck and possibly minor injuries included. He may not have had a computer to keep abreast of the latest Branson job statistics and if he did and checked the job report in early summer job prospects look good. What is not included in the job reports is that most jobs are not over 20 hours a week. Plus he came to see his grandchild. He probably hasn't left Branson yet because he has some family connections, it's a long and steep walk to Springfield, and he may have gotten beat up his last visit to that friendly place.
If he has a child living in Branson he certainly wouldn't need a computer to find out how poor the job situation is in Branson. Especially if that child is the one living in weekly rental motels with his girlfriend.
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Old 09-24-2011, 02:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by MNtraveler View Post
If he has a child living in Branson he certainly wouldn't need a computer to find out how poor the job situation is in Branson. Especially if that child is the one living in weekly rental motels with his girlfriend.
You got that right.
Sure, being homeless is a terrible thing... BUT...
Unless there are some extremely tragic circumstances, you don't just wake up one day and find yourself homeless. Nine times out of ten, there is a story leading up to being homeless. Criminal history, addiction, alcohol, etc. IMHO, You gotta take responsibility for your own life at some point.
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Old 09-24-2011, 04:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MNtraveler View Post
I'm not trying to "blame the victim", but why do they stay in Branson when there is a lower cost of living and year-round jobs available in nearby cities like Ozark and Nixa? It seems kind of like moving to Detroit and then wondering why you can't find a job...
Sorta why I took up the "let's report all there is to report about Branson" awhile back, so that more folks are not drawn by the false hype.

You have to admit that there is an appearance of opportunity in the Branson area, what with all the stuff going on. The truth is things are tough, employers have reduced staff, wages are low, the job market is cut-throat, and unemployment has remained high.
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Old 09-24-2011, 05:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegrass4me View Post
According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors the number one reason for being homeless is lack of affordable housing..... a large percentage of homeless people have jobs.
That may be the case in a big city where you have to pay $120,000 for a housing unit in a slum and $200,000 for something decent. But in Branson you find MANY condos on the market for $40,000. With an FHA mortgage you can get in for a down payment of 3.5%, amounting to $1,400 on a $40,000 mortgage. The monthly payment on the remaining $38,600 would be $207.21 assuming a 30 year mortgage at 5% interest. You could work at McDonald's and afford that kind of payment!

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Old 09-24-2011, 08:13 PM   #12
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When we bought our condo in February 2010 we were told that it is VERY difficult to get a loan to buy a condo in the area. Money isn't that available for loans...
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:22 AM   #13
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When we bought our condo in February 2010 we were told that it is VERY difficult to get a loan to buy a condo in the area. Money isn't that available for loans...
I know for a long time buyers had a hard time getting an appraisal that supported the price. Now that prices have sunk so low it might not be as big a problem any longer. The people who bought my Cozy Cove condo had no problem, though it is not a vacation condo development like the really low priced ones. There are many single family homes in Springfield that are in decent shape in areas that aren't bad in the $40,000 - $50,000 range. Springfield also has JOBS.

Where you live in this area can make a huge difference. My niece had been unemployed in Bolivar for close to 2 years. She found full time employment in Nixa within 10 days of moving here. She has since found a better paying job in Springfield. I LOVE Branson, but it isn't really a good place to move to now unless you have a job lined up or can get by on part time or seasonal work.
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:47 AM   #14
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I've said it before...will say it again: People who live in motels are not necessarily homeless. They have a home...they just pay their rent by the week. Some even pay by the month. I know people who choose to live in them, and they certainly could live elsewhere.

One woman, in particular, is single and has a really nice room. I believe she pays monthly. But, she doesn't have to buy furniture, towels, or linens...she doesn't have to pay electric bill, phone bill, water bill, cable...and, it is within walking distance of her job. I really don't see the difference in renting a weekly motel room, and renting a condo at Fall Creek Resort, which is basically a very large motel room/suite....except they usually pay utilities. They are furnished, have towels and linens and dishes...a big motel room.
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Old 09-25-2011, 02:31 PM   #15
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I've said it before...will say it again: People who live in motels are not necessarily homeless. They have a home...they just pay their rent by the week. Some even pay by the month. I know people who choose to live in them, and they certainly could live elsewhere.

One woman, in particular, is single and has a really nice room. I believe she pays monthly. But, she doesn't have to buy furniture, towels, or linens...she doesn't have to pay electric bill, phone bill, water bill, cable...and, it is within walking distance of her job. I really don't see the difference in renting a weekly motel room, and renting a condo at Fall Creek Resort, which is basically a very large motel room/suite....except they usually pay utilities. They are furnished, have towels and linens and dishes...a big motel room.
I guess KY3 missed the people live in motels because they prefer to live in motels angle. The people they interviewed did not seem to be too thrilled about it.

I spose some people live in cars because they prefer living in cars . . . don't have to buy furniture and so forth.

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