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Man from Laclede County wants to start homeless shelter near Lebanon

Mike Duran hopes to model a shelter and trade school after Springfield's Victory Mission

January 18, 2012|by Dustin Hodges, KY3 News | dhodges@ky3.com

LEBANON, Mo. -- Mike Duran wants to open a new homeless shelter here.  He's eyeing a site west of Lebanon near Phillipsburg, in a building that used to be an old boat factory.  

Mike has been helping homeless people in Springfield for more than a decade.  In fact, he says if he ever gets a shelter up and running near Lebanon, he wants to model it after Springfield's Victory Mission.

"It's  just a perfect location.  It's out of everybody's way, but it's actually right on I-44," said Duran.

Duran says it wasn't his idea to bring a homeless shelter to the Lebanon area.  "We want to do something with this property," he said.  The idea, he says, was God's.

"I always had a heart for the homeless, and then I came up here and we were talking at the coffee house about all the homeless people that were coming in here, and so the Lord just really pricked my heart again and said you really need to start working in your own community," said Duran.

"There were a lot of discussions at a local coffee shop and that's where  they would sit before the day started and that's where they got to talk with several of the community people who were burdened by the same thing and were working for the same goal," said Amber Meredith, who runs the Free Store across the street from the coffee shop they would meet.

Meredith is also working to help the homeless in Lebanon.  "Everybody's situation is different, their circumstances are different, and the need is different," said Meredith.  She's says there's a growing need in Lebanon for a shelter.

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"I'd say in the last year it's grown four times the number of homeless people -- just people whose life circumstances had left them homeless, but now just rising utility costs and food cost and just a lot of people losing their homes, because they can't keep the utilities on," said Meredith.

"They don't' have the money for electricity or water.  They just have a roof over their head and those are the people that we really want to help before they get to that place where they're homeless," said Duran.

Duran says his shelter would provide more than just a place to stay.

"We're going to take it all the way.  We're going to set up schooling for them.  We're actually going to mirror Victory Mission," said Duran.

It's quite an ambitious goal.

"This building was the old boat factory here in Phillipsburg.  It's a perfect location, perfect size, 25,000-square-foot building."

If he can only get the building.

"My God's a mighty God and He'll supply all our needs according to his riches and glory, so I'm not concerned.  I know the Lord; He's already working on the hearts of people right now, so I'm not concerned about it," said Duran.

The shelter is Duran's long-term goal.  In the short term, he's helping homeless people by feeding them a meal once a week.  Meredith lets him hold it right there in the Free Store that she runs on Commercial Street, in Lebanon.

Mike says he's gotten a lot of support from people.  A lot of times, people are concerned about a homeless shelter going up in the city, but, if Duran can get enough help to get the old boat factory building in Phillipsburg, he thinks that would be a perfect location

If you'd like to contact Duran to help start a homeless shelter and trade school near Lebanon, you can call him at (417) 241-0480.

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