Stephanie Ireland Designs New Facilities for The Kitchen, Inc.

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In 2015, after closing the Missouri Hotel (the largest shelter for homeless people in SW MO), the decision was made to upgrade facilities and move operations of The Kitchen, Inc. to a new home with separate residential and support services facilities. Architect Stephanie Ireland of Ireland Architects was the ideal person to make their dream come to life.

Ireland is a two-time past president of The Kitchen’s Board of Trustees, in addition to serving on The Kitchen’s Board of Trustees for several years prior to being president. “She is passionate about ending homelessness in our community and has taken her skill set and used it to help us do that,” Meleah Spencer, CEO of The Kitchen, Inc. “She has gone above and beyond during the past few years for our project.”

“She took the time not only to talk to leadership, but also to case managers and really touched all facets of the organization to find out how to best meet everyone’s needs for both the emergency shelter and the support services building,” says Spencer. “She distilled all of that feedback and put it into a plan that works. To be able to actually create something that will be used to the utmost is not something everyone has a talent for but it’s something that Stephanie excels at.”

Planning on the facility started five years ago. While preparing for a pandemic wasn’t on anyone’s mind at that time, the design ended up being perfectly suited to handle life during COVID-19. There are no congregating spaces in the facility, which makes it easy for the residents to practice social distancing. The facility consists of individual apartments with their own private dining and bathing areas so residents can properly shelter in place.

“We had no idea how much it would help in the midst of a pandemic. Stephanie’s design has allowed us to continue to serve those experiencing homelessness seamlessly, when many other places had to really adjust to keep services going,” says Spencer.

In addition to the emergency shelter for up to 50 homeless people, Ireland designed the new Sam F. & June S. Hamra Support Services building on the same O'Reilly Family Campus . The new support services building allows coordinators, case managers of housing programs, administration and the donation center to all be in one building providing streamlined services to best meet clients’ needs. In addition, Stephanie’s design provided meeting rooms for clients to connect with other community agencies for their next steps towards self-sufficiency and success.

“Stephanie is such a tremendous advocate for our organization and our cause,” a cause shared by the Founder of The Kitchen Sister Lorraine Biebel, says Rex Hansen, president of the Board of Trustees of The Kitchen, Inc. “We really want to thank Stephanie because she is a champion for our organization,” says Hansen. “She has a passion for this organization, and she knew what we needed so when we asked her to design it, there was no hesitation. The result is tremendous for The Kitchen’s clients & staff.”

The emergency shelter facility was completed and opened for use November 2018 and is located at 1855 E. Chestnut Expressway. The Sam F. & June S. Hamra Support Services building is 95% completed and ready for occupancy this month at 730 N. Glenstone (NE corner of Glenstone & Chestnut Expressway).

The Kitchen, Inc.

Street Address:
730 N Glenstone Ave., Springfield, MO 65802
Phone: 417.837.1500
Fax: 417.831.6709
Web Address:
Top Executives:
Board of Trustees Executive Committee
Rex Hansen, President
Jason Clough, Vice President
Kathy Pulley, Secretary
Sister Katie Hoegeman, Treasurer
Michele Kauffman, Past President
Meleah Spencer, CEO
Year Founded: 1983
Number of Employees: 36
Product or Service: Nonprofit providing housing and services to people experiencing homelessness