After Helping Hands of Springfield ended its effort to open a shelter and medical clinic for the city’s homeless, some community members say they worry about what that decision could mean for the city. The project fell through after major financial supporters stepped down and several community groups did not support the center's location on the east side.
Julie Becker runs the Helping the Homeless in Springfield, Illinois ministry which has delivered blankets, clothes and food throughout the city for four years. This summer, she said, her Facebook page increased its followers as conversations around the Center for Health and Housing became contentious and more people got engaged in the issue.
Even though the project will not be moving forward, Becker said the issue helped educate many about homelesseness.
But she said, she doesn't want the conversation to end here and she would like the mayor to accompany
her around the city as she delivers blankets and other goods to those experiencing homelessness.
"I would like to challenge him to come out with me for a couple of days, and see how it is that these people live."
Becker said she starts her day and ends her day with text messages and phone calls from those living in the streets who need socks, shoes and sweatshirts.
"But if we could get people into housing, the needs would be different," she said. "People would be calling me asking me for a microwave or some pots and pans or maybe a little bit of food to get by because their Link (card) isn't enough."
Becker spoke to reporter Daisy Contreras about her work in the city and her reflections on the Center for Health and Housing project.