House Concurrent Resolution No. 49




            Whereas, the State of Missouri recognizes that every Missouri citizen has a right to live in a safe, decent, and affordable home and any Missourian experiencing homelessness is unacceptable; and


            Whereas, the number of Missourians experiencing homelessness continues to increase. Until permanent affordable housing can be provided for all who need it, people need someplace to call home. Forcing people with no other housing option onto the streets and then criminalizing them for being there is cruel, irrational, and destructive; and


            Whereas, while a number of measures have been taken to try to address the problem of homelessness in Missouri, including the Governor's Committee to End Homelessness, the 2008 count for Missouri produced a count of 1,862 homeless people, with 601 of those individuals being unsheltered. In addition, 618 children were reported homeless, with 221 of those children being classified as unsheltered; and


            Whereas, Of the 1,862 homeless persons, males made up 52%, veterans 8%, and the disabled 42%; and


            Whereas, the Continuum of Care (CoC) concept is a community plan to organize and deliver housing services to meet the specific needs of people who are homeless as they move to stable housing and maximize self-sufficiency; and


            Whereas, the Continuum of Care concept is designed to aid communities in the development of the capacity to envision, organize, and plan comprehensive and long-term solutions to address the problem of homelessness in the community in order to end homelessness and prevent individuals from returning to homelessness; and


            Whereas, in Portland, Oregon, a nonprofit organization known as Dignity Village, Inc., has implemented a plan which provides a safe, drug and alcohol free, alternative to the streets for homeless adults; and


            Whereas, known as "Dignity Village", an acre of land was designated for an area for the homeless. In addition to private temporary dwellings, the Village provides basic services including toilets, showers, cooking facilities, telephone, mail, computer access, and access to health care; and


            Whereas, Dignity Village is much more than a "tent city". It is a vibrant residential community that provides a sanctuary for homeless men, women, and children which underscores its immeasurable value as a viable solution for homelessness; and


            Whereas, the success of Dignity Village sends a clear message across the country that creative, grass roots endeavors aimed at resolving homelessness and poverty rightly belong in the same policy discussions with more conventional approaches:


            Now, therefore, be it resolved that the members of the House of Representatives of the Ninety-fifth General Assembly, First Regular Session, the Senate concurring therein, hereby strongly urge every county in this state to consider, evaluate, and implement a comprehensive plan to reduce homelessness; and


            Be it further resolved that the Missouri General Assembly encourages counties to consider developing a Continuum of Care concept, establishing a "Dignity Village" for the homeless, or other endeavors aimed at resolving homelessness in our State; and


            Be it further resolved that the Chief Clerk of the Missouri House of Representatives be instructed to prepare properly inscribed copies of this resolution for the governing body of each county of this state.