The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Joplin Metro

December 12, 2007

Homeless huddle at City of Refuge

By Greg Grisolano

While hundreds of Joplin residents are eagerly waiting for power to be restored so they can return to their homes, others without homes to go to are making due at area shelters.

Classie Barber and Jay Tysver said they have been spending their days keeping warm at City of Refuge, a faith-based shelter for area homeless in Joplin, but have been sleeping in their tent under a railroad bridge at night.

“We usually come in in the morning and stay until just before we want to go to bed,” Barber said.

Barber, a diabetic on disability, said she has been volunteering in the pantry during the day to help out.

“Right now, the Refuge is a great help keeping us warm and fed,” she said. “If we weren’t here, we’d be freezing. We probably wouldn’t make it.”

Tysver said the city isn’t allowing the couple to build a campfire at night, so they turn on a small hunting stove right before bed and right after they wake up to heat the tent.

More than 40 people have been staying overnight at City of Refuge, a Christian ministry and shelter, at 502 E. Seventh St., according to the group’s senior pastor, Dan Anderson.

“Our intention here is to house a hundred people, if need be, or more,” Anderson said. “We do it completely faith-based. We operate completely off of donations.”

Anderson said several people who were without power at their homes donated food from freezers, and staff members and some of the residents are helping to prepare daily meals for about 150 families in Joplin.

“It’s probably doubled the number of people normally coming through,” Anderson said of the ice storm

Mattresses and blankets are spread out in the building, which used to be a cold-storage warehouse. Many are sleeping in a converted loading dock or on the floor of the building’s sanctuary, the only part that has heat.

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A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

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