"I see a need; I respond to a need. God's called me to do a job, so I'm going to do it," Rice said at a news conference on Thursday morning.
Rice says the homeless people who aren't in shelters need a place where they won't be tossed out or ticketed.
"Those that really want to have a place to stay that's safe, secure, they don't need to drink all night, they may have a quiet dog or may want to continue to smoke, can come and utilize this parking lot," Rice said.
The City of Springfield says that's not allowed in a general retail zoning district. In a letter, Building Development Services notified Rice that the makeshift campground is a violation, and the outdoor activity should cease immediately or the city will take the actions necessary.
"They can't issue any ticket here. They can do it on the streets of Springfield, but then they're going to open up a legal can of worms, heaven help them!" said Rice.
Bombard wants to finish her GED and go to college but, right now, a tent is where she hopes to lay her head.
"Just whatever you have over your head is considered home," Bombard said.
Rice says his attorney will send the City of Springfield a response to its notice of violation. Rice says the parking lot is a temporary place. He's starting an effort to put an initiative petition on the ballot that would require the City of Springfield provide one acre of land for homeless people to camp or stay in their vehicles.
Organizations that work with homeless people in Springfield have both short and long term plans, and Rice has not worked with those groups. Some churches offer shelter on cold nights, and, long term, they want to have more shelter space.
The City of Springfield sent a news release concerning shelter for homeless people:
"Earlier today, a press conference was held that indicated a shortage of shelters and housing for the homeless in Springfield. The Springfield community, through the Continuum of Care, which includes a wide variety of participants representing the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, has an on-going strategy to address sheltering the homeless.
"In the past two years, a number of new initiatives have increased the number of beds for homeless individuals and families. This includes both access to short-term emergency shelter and long-term permanent housing solutions.
"Solutions involve sheltering the homeless in existing shelters (The Kitchen, Family Violence Center and the Salvation Army); hotels; and churches. Individuals and families are sheltered in existing shelters, while families are also being accommodated in hotels in donated or reduced-rate rooms. In the past year, more than 180 families have been given emergency vouchers when shelters are full.
"On October 17, 2011, the Springfield City Council adopted a resolution extending a declaration of economic and housing access calamity, which allows churches to shelter the homeless regardless of the zoning district of the church.
"Two churches now have shelters open for individuals. Safe to Sleep–Women’s Overnight Shelter provides shelter for up to 12 women each night, in apartments provided by The Kitchen. East Sunshine Church of Christ is sheltering single men any night the temperature is 32 degrees or below. East Sunshine has a maximum capacity of 49, and during the winter of 2010-2011 averaged over 40 men each night.
"Shelter services are coordinated through One Door, a clearinghouse operated by The Kitchen and funded through Community Development Block Grant funds provided by the City. One Door ensures that homeless individuals and families are provided the appropriate services based on their needs. The telephone number for One Door is: 417-225-7499."