Joplin group works to help the homeless

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JOPLIN, Mo. — A group of concerned citizens are working to help the homeless.

What are they trying to do?

The residents are making sure the homeless have a place to stay during extreme temperatures. The group is called Homeless Emergency Action Team Joplin.

Joe Johnson, HEAT Director, said, “When we have different emergencies that would affect the homeless population we want to be proactive and make sure their services are taken care of and their needs are met.”

The Homeless Emergency Action Team Joplin held a meeting Wednesday night. The group also know as HEAT was started after the Minnie Hackney Center opened in February to provide a safe warm place for the homeless to stay in single digit temperatures.

“Once it was over we realized we are going to have other situations arise. In the Summer we are going to have extreme heat. Next year when something like this comes up we want to be proactive and have a shelter already prepared and open for these folks when they come in.”

Earlier in the year HEAT asked the Joplin City Council for approval to meet with the emergency Management Director for Guidance. The Joplin City Council agreed and wednesday night the fire chief and police chief were in attendence answering questions. The fire chief says their main priority is to help the group and keep everyone safe.

Jim Furgerson, Fire Chief, said “We want these buildings to be safe to be occupied. That is the plan to say hey let’s get in there let’s see how many people can be in the building. Is it up to code if its not up to code what are some things that we might be able to allow in an emergency situation much like we faced this Winter.”

HEAT will also have street teams that will reach out to the homeless community.

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