Take A Look Inside The Emergency Shelter

Take a Look Inside the Emergency Shelter

The Kitchen, Inc. Emergency Shelter opened in November 2018 with 14 apartments and a 50-bed capacity. Thirteen apartments serve individuals, families, Veterans, and youth, while one apartment is reserved for respite care. Since opening, 119 people have been temporarily housed in the shelter. Designed with Family in Mind Unlike most congregate shelters, The Kitchen, Inc. Emergency Shelter provides each family with space of their own: a kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, and a small living area. This allows families to focus on securing permanent housing without worrying about the safety of their children or the security of their possessions. In the COVID-19 pandemic, this model has allowed families to shelter in place, isolate, or quarantine when necessary. The shelter has other amenities to decrease the trauma children and adults experience when they lose their home: Apartments are accessible through interior doorsLaundry is available for families to useThe playground offers a safe place for kids of all ages to playEach unit includes a kitchen, bathroom, small living area and bedroomsThe computer lab and expanded Wi-Fi access allow children to continue with schoolworkOutdoor kennels provide a space for pets to spend time outside Forward Thinking When a family enters the shelter, case managers work with them to find housing options and prepare them to move into permanent housing. After they are housed, case managers continue to work with the family to overcome the barriers that led to homelessness and reach long-term stability. The goals is to move the family into permanent housing within 90 days. Community Support Building the Emergency Shelter would not have been possible without the generous support of the community. The shelter was phase 1 of our Capital Campaign to fund The O’Reilly Family Campus: The Kitchen, Inc.'s new home. Phase 2 is the Sam F. and June S. Hamra Family…

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A Look At Our New Home

A Look at Our New Home

It is fitting to be moving The Kitchen, Inc. to a new home when much of what we do here is help folks find affordable, permanent housing. We are excited to start this new chapter in The Kitchen, Inc.’s long history of serving this community. The Sam F. and June S. Hamra Family Support Services Building will be the new home of The Kitchen, Inc’s support services team. This includes case managers in our Community Housing and Home at Last programs, the housing office that works with local landlords to find safe, affordable housing for our clients, our support nurse, the Donation Center, and our administrative staff. The building is located at 730 N. Glenstone Ave. and is expected to open in October. The brand-new building includes collaborative workspaces for case managers, nine conference rooms for confidential meetings with clients, and a large board room. Extra health and safety measures were added in the construction phase to limit the spread of COVID-19. Additional safety screens were added to the reception area, social distancing dividers were added to open office spaces, and hands-free door openers were added to restroom and entry doors. “We are so grateful to Sam, June, and the entire Hamra family for their generous support of this project. This building will allow us to better serve our clients and continue The Kitchen, Inc.’s long history of bringing stability and purpose to people who are homeless.”–Meleah Spencer, CEO Sam and June Hamra and Charlie O'Reilly at the future home of the O'Reilly Family Campus and Sam F. and June S. Hamra Family Support Services Building. Want to contribute to the cause? Consider donating to the Capital Campaign. Photos of the Sam F. and June S. Hamra Family Support Services Building.

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Have You Seen The Sign? The Kitchen, Inc. Is Moving!

Have You Seen the Sign? The Kitchen, Inc. is Moving!

The new O’Reilly Family Campus will house the Sam F. and June S. Hamra Family Support Services Building and the Emergency Shelter.  Decades of History For 37 years, The Kitchen, Inc. has been there for our neighbors in need. Sister Lorraine Biebel began serving meals to the homeless in 1983. From that first meal until today, The Kitchen, Inc. has evolved from a soup kitchen into a leader in our community providing stability and purpose to people who are homeless. Part of that evolution includes moving from The Kitchen, Inc.’s long-time campus on Commercial Street. Building a Dream Our capital campaign launched in 2015 to pay the cost of the new campus construction. On June 8, 2017 The Kitchen, Inc. broke ground on the O’Reilly Family Campus. The campus is located on the corner of Chestnut Expwy and Glenstone Ave. The Construction process included two phases. Phase One was the Emergency Shelter that includes 14 apartments with a 50-bed capacity. The Kitchen, Inc. celebrated the completion of the shelter with a Housewarming Celebration on November 8, 2018 and opened the building to the community. Thirteen apartments serve individuals, families, Veterans and youth, while one apartment is reserved for respite care. Since opening, the Emergency Shelter has served 117 people. Phase Two is the Sam F. and June S. Hamra Family Support Services building that will house case managers, the housing office, our support nurse, administrative offices, and the Donation Center. Construction began in April 2019. We should open the new building in October 2020.  Forwarding Our Vision The O’Reilly Family Campus will allow us to forward our vision of a community without homelessness. The apartment-style shelter brings more dignity and security to families who need a place to stay until they can find permanent housing and lessens the disruption and…

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A Family in Crisis

A Single father and his 8-year-old twin daughters were homeless before finding The Kitchen, Inc. A Single Father The father is originally from Chicago and moved to Springfield when he was 20. He was living with his girlfriend before she started using drugs. Her drug use forced him to leave their house. When his daughters were 5 years old, their mother dropped them off at Isabel’s House. Isabel’s House contacted him and he was able to gain custody of the girls. He and the girls lived with his mother while he was enrolled in an automotive program at Ozarks Technical Community College. He and the girls lost their housing when his mother passed away. Without a place to call home and childcare, he withdrew from school. The family of three slept in his truck, unless the girls were able to spend the night with a family member.  Finding The Kitchen, Inc. Once connected with One Door, the family was referred to The Kitchen Inc.’s Community Housing program. Now, the family is stably housed in permanent housing. Along with a home, The Kitchen, Inc. provided home furnishings including mattresses, a washer and dryer, and household and cleaning supplies. The case manager was also able to connect the family to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). TANF is a cash benefit for children that can be used for clothes, utilities, or other services.  Childcare in a Pandemic The father is actively job searching but has struggled at times to find babysitters for the girls. TANF can be used for childcare as well, which is a critical need for single parents—and an even greater need as children return to school in a hybrid or fully virtual model because of the pandemic. His girls are happy and safe, and his time in the program…

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Meet Patty, A Resident Of Beacon Village

Meet Patty, a Resident of Beacon Village

Homeless, Not Hopeless Patty was homeless, struggling with alcoholism and living on the streets when she was referred to The Kitchen, Inc.’s Community Housing program. Through The Kitchen, Inc., Patty was able to sign a lease for an apartment at Beacon Village, one of The Kitchen, Inc.’s affordable housing properties. Working Towards Sobriety Once housed, Patty began working on the barriers that led to her homelessness. Alcoholism was a huge barrier to living a healthy, stable life. Her case manager, Nancy Galetti, connected Patty to MSU Care and Burrell Behavioral Health. Part of Patty’s treatment includes injections once a month that make her ill if she drinks. She struggled with the medication at first, but eventually overcame it. She looks forward to completing the treatment soon. Through a referral from Burrell, Patty enrolled in a Substance Awareness Traffic Offender Program (SATOP). Patty completed SATOP in 2019 and has the certificate proudly displayed in her living room. Graduating the Program After a two-year wait, Patty has received a housing choice voucher through the Springfield Housing Authority and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). With this voucher and the progress she has made towards long-term stability, Patty will be able to exit The Kitchen, Inc.'s Community Housing program. Patty's success has everything to do with making the most of her time in the program to overcome serious obstacles with the help of her case manager, community resources, and her unrelenting effort to make real, positive change in her life. Patty’s stable housing is the most important thing in her life. When she received a large sum of money in back pay, she used a small amount to purchase a few needed household and personal items and set the rest aside for the next six month’s rent. Learning to budget her…

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Meet Maria, A Case Manager In Community Housing

Meet Maria, a Case Manager in Community Housing

I am a Community Housing case manager for chronically homeless individuals. I have been with The Kitchen, Inc. for almost two years.  More than a Job Being a case manager for the homeless is more than a job. It’s a calling, a love-hate relationship of give and take, ups and downs, successes and defeats. It’s a “never the same day twice” kind of job that fills you with pride when things go right and hurts your heart when they go wrong. At its simplest, my job is to empower others to bring about change in their lives. At its most complex, my job is to lead others to the endless possibilities change can create. Embracing Uncertainty A day in my life usually consists of receiving referrals to assist individuals, scheduling meetings in a comfortable place to learn about a person’s needs and guide them to resources that provide solutions to those needs. These can include food, housing, transportation, insurance, or psycho-social needs such as counseling or therapy. I can plan out my day to the minute, but if a client calls in a crisis, I drop my plans and become a source of stability and support to resolve that crisis. I’ve learned to embrace uncertainty and to adapt on the fly.  "I've learned that change comes to each person in their own time and of their own making." Maria Graham I may work with a person for a period of weeks, months, or years. I’ve learned that change comes to each person in their own time and of their own making. Our program is goal-driven and allows people to decide what aspects of their life they would like to improve. I often help people budget their money, get to medical appointments, apply for benefits or access community resources. My clients…

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