POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - The John J. Pershing VA Medical Center and the city of Poplar Bluff have joined forces to create "The Poplar Bluff Area Coalition To End Homelessness." It's something almost two dozen agencies are a part of and more are welcome.
The group says the needs of the homeless in southeast Missouri are greater than we think.
"It's the result of program cuts but also the economy and many other things," said Janel Barber, of MERS Goodwill, a member agency. "The meaning needs to be expanded. It could mean people living under a bridge or in their car and also those who just can't afford housing and are living with parents or friends."
The Veteran's Association offers programs such as 24/7 mental health assistance, health care, jobs services and emergency housing.
As of right now, 14 veterans are in emergency housing.
Although there are plenty of programs, one board member and veteran, Bardis Dismuke, said that he is afraid most veterans are afraid to get help.
"They just shrink into the woodwork and try to blend in and that's where your homeless people come from," said Dismuke.
Although homelessness has decreased 12 percent, the coalition knows there are more people who need help.
The group will launch a website in July. Area resources will be detailed there. On September 25 they plan on hosting a fair that will make numerous services available to veterans. That will take place at the Black River Coliseum.
If you or someone you know needs help contact:
John J. Pershing, 1500 North Westwood Boulevard
Poplar Bluff, Missouri 63901
Or, call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-424-3838.