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Editorial: Transitional housing

Sunday, May 31, 2009

In 2007 Project Hope, which provides assistance to individuals in difficult situations through 60 participating church congregations in Southeast Missouri, proposed Magnolia Place to help meet the need for transitional housing in Cape Girardeau.

The start-up vision for Magnolia Place called for nine houses in the 500 block of North Main and North Spanish streets in Cape Girardeau's downtown. Project Hope received $185,050 in tax credits through the Neighborhood Assistance Program. After that, the idea languished.

Now a push by the Rev. Larry Rice of the New Life Evangelistic Center in St. Louis to convert the old federal building on Broadway into a homeless shelter has spurred renewed interest in Magnolia Place. Rice says his center also would address the need for transitional housing. At a recent meeting of community leaders who oppose Rice's proposal, Magnolia Place was brought to the center of attention.

There are many reasons why Rice's proposal for the federal building has attracted such widespread opposition. And there are advantages to the Magnolia Place project that merit support, including the fact that a broad community coalition is trying to address the needs of not just the homeless, but also those in need of longer-term transitional housing.

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