Since the shelters closed, the city of Springfield, the county and Interfaith have mainly relied on non-congregant forms of emergency shelter such as hotel and motel rooms. However, Interfaith and city officials said that those alternatives are not sustainable.
That is especially the case as homelessness continues to surpass pre-pandemic levels. A waiting list for emergency shelter was created last year for the first time in more than a decade, and the average stay for someone utilizing those services increased during the pandemic.
Currently more than 300 individuals are being assisted through Interfaith in non-congregant shelters, and there is still a waiting list, said Stephen Thompson, the Community Development Deputy Director for the city of Springfield.
Thompson said they hope to get the two congregant shelters back online as soon as possible. When they open, both shelters will have a capacity of a combined 50 people, he said.
“(Interfaith) and (the Clark County Combined Health District) will work together to determine the best, and most COVID respecting number of individuals who can be sheltered at Norms and Hartley once renovations are complete.” Thompson said.
Springfield city commissioners approved an ordinance last month that would allow the city manger to enter into an agreement with Interfaith to provide money for necessary renovations for an amount not to exceed $185,000.
The city is also currently working through various federal processes to determine if they can move forward with awarding a $2 million grant for a non-congregate facility in the city.
The goal is to team up with a nonprofit that would be in charge of those renovations as the city looks at way to create more emergency shelter as well as permanent housing solutions.
“We continue to explore all options to assist our community in the displaced housing crisis,” Thompson said.