Homeless Coalition connects people in need
JOPLIN, Mo. — As Tonya Miller gets a trim, she can’t help but reflect on the days when she was a hair stylist herself before a natural disaster in 2011 left her feeling lost.
“I was in the tornado and I just didn’t deal with the magnitude of what happened, I think, and it’s put me in a spiral downward, so I ended up homeless,” explained Miller.
Miller struggled with alcohol abuse after the ordeal and fell in and out of rehab centers before ending up at Soul’s Harbor, a homeless shelter she’s thankful for.
“We do have four walls, and, you know, a roof, warm bed, blankets, and we’re all going through the same thing so we just kinda stick together,” said Miller.
Miller and others like her are taking advantage of the Homeless Coalition’s connection event, which provides local housing, employment and health care resources.
“Our goal is to come together with everybody kinda in one place so that they can access all of that at once. They don’t have to walk all over town to get that information, to get that kind of help,” said Robin Smith with the Homeless Coaltion.
This kind of help is just what Miller needs, and she knows just how much of a difference it will make in her life and the lives of others.
“It’s just an inner shine, I think, that shines through. It gives you confidence whether it be for a job interview, or a court appearance, or just to feel good about yourself on a day-to-day basis,” said Miller.
Whether it’s hair cuts or health care, each of these tables represents an organization that’s helping a homeless person get back on their feet.
“You just have to ask questions, you just have to come. I mean they did this for a purpose and it’s because if you don’t have the knowledge of the things that are out there for help, you miss out on a lot,” said Miller.
The Homeless Coalition received more than $600,000 in continued grant funding for affordable housing services to help end homelessness in the area.
The group’s census for 2018 revealed that there were at least 275 homeless people in Joplin.
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