Columbia hosts symposium aimed at helping those in need

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COLUMBIA - This year’s Missouri Symposium on Homelessness included speakers discussing topics such as the legal implications of food stamp limits, how human trafficking affects the homeless population, statistics on homelessness in the state, and other subjects.

The Governor’s Committee to End Homelessness (GCEH), which was established by Governor John Ashcroft in 1987, along with the Missouri Housing Development Commission, are responsible for the symposium. The GCEH's website states their responsibilities are to raise awareness about homelessness in Missouri and advocate for housing and service needs through resource collaboration, like these symposiums.

“The goal of this symposium is to get education about best practices for how to end homelessness in communities throughout the state,” Alyssa Murphy, Information Specialist for Missouri Housing Development Commission, said.

Groups who attended the symposium include representatives from non-profit organizations, hospitals, school homeless district liaisons, and police departments to name a few.

This is the third year that the conference has worked through the Governor’s Committee to End Homelessness and the change has allowed for a bigger format with more speakers.

“More people are excited about the change that they can bring to their community. They’re really implementing the different strategies that we discuss here. They’re learning more about how to work with homeless individuals and homeless families and children in a more efficient, effective way, which is awesome for the state of Missouri,” Murphy said.

Sessions included speakers from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Department of Mental Health and Children’s Services, and even from the Springfield Public Schools.

To learn how to get involved in, visit the Governor’s Committee to End Homelessness’s website.