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Jefferson City Council approves creation of homelessness task force


The Jefferson City Council approved a resolution on Monday to create a task force focusing on homelessness.

The task force will be assigned to find solutions related to the unhoused population in the community.

During a meeting last Wednesday, the administration committee voted to recommend that the City Council approve the committee formation.

The administration committee is made up of five council members: Ward 1 Councilman Jeff Ahlers, Ward 2 Councilman Mike Lester, Ward 3 Councilwoman Treaka Young, Ward 4 Councilman Derrick Spicer and Ward 5 Councilman Mark Schwartz.

Ward 3 Councilwoman Treaka Young said the goal of creating this task force is to be proactive in addressing and assisting the homeless population in Jefferson City.

"We're being proactive as opposed to being reactive," Young said, "get these groups together who have the resources that are needed so that we can contain the problem and help the homeless to be safe, help the residents to feel a sense of safety as well."

Also present at that meeting were three members of the Jefferson City public who have experience helping homeless people. Scott Johnston, president of Housing the Community Jefferson City, or HCJC; Steve DeVries, a member of the executive team for Jefferson City Room at the Inn; and Scott Breedlove, president of Landmark Recovery in Jefferson City, all provided their input on the task force.

Landmark Recovery Center Manager Jerica Breedlove tells ABC 17 the task force will help promote the available resources for the homeless in the area.

"If our doors are open just to allow people to hang out, but we start identifying those needs that perhaps we then learn an agency across town can actually help fill that need,” Breedlove said, “And I think a task force could be crucial in just bridging those gaps, bringing everyone to the table."

The City Council has attempted to create a similar committee before, but it did not pass. Young said she believes that was due to the lack of concern regarding the issue at the time.

"I've seen a significant increase and really in the last year or so is when I seen the increased rise to a level of concern... We are all in agreement that this is a problem that we want to address before it get completely out of hand," Young said.

The ad hoc committee will be active until April 2025. That timeline can be extended by another year following its final report if approved by the City Council.

Article Topic Follows: Jefferson City

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Olivia Hayes

Olivia is a summer intern at ABC 17 News.


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