Some homeless advocates in St. Louis said that there is not enough accommodation, funding | Politics

In the wake of a major winter storm that is pounding the region, Michael Robinson, CEO of City of Hope St. Louisand Josh Privitt, a volunteer with Ferguson Heating Center, work to address the needs of the homeless; It’s a daily crunch that’s not just limited to bad weather days.

Taylor Tiamoyo Harris

ST. LOUIS – With heavy snow predicted and single-digit temperatures, two homeless advocates warned Tuesday that the city is running short of additional shelter space for ordinary people. outside overnight.

Furthermore, Anthony D’Agostino, downtown St. Patrick Center, and Tim Huffman, co-chairs of the St. Louis on the homeless, said organizations have recently expanded the emergency space they provide that needs donations to cover extra. cost.

D’Agostino said various private groups helping the homeless in the city hope to raise $250,000 and recruit dozens more volunteers “to keep their unfamiliar neighbors at bay.” I’m not freezing to death.”

He said there are 266 “spill” spaces in the city to handle homeless people who don’t normally go to overnight shelters, but 140 of them are unfunded.

“We don’t have enough money and we don’t have enough people to continue the space we have now,” said D’Agostino, referring to the different groups that make up the Continuity of Care network.

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The problem is happening despite the fact that the Aldermen Board of Directors allocated more than $19 million in new city spending on homeless services last summer. It was part of a bill to distribute some federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to the city.

Huffman said the city has been slow in contracting with organizations to actually use the money. He said he believes that is in part due to the different provisions of the contract that must be followed.

“My analysis is that the city is trying very hard to do the right thing and (officials) are doing their best in their institutional capacity to do it quickly,” said Huffman, associate professor Communication at the University of St. Louis, said. “But they don’t do it quickly.”

The city’s Department of Human Services, which oversees the city’s homeless programs, said in a statement that it used more than $7 million in ARPA funding to open 607 places in the city’s homeless shelters. shelter camp.

Nick Dunne, a spokesman for Mayor Tishaura O. Jones, said the total includes 125 “overflow” beds. Many are staying at the two emergency shelters that opened in recent weeks – one at the Cherokee Recreation Center, at 3200 South Jefferson Avenue, and the Asbury United Methodist Church, 4001 Maffitt Avenue.

A city warming bus picks up residents on 13th and Chestnut streets from 5:30 to 7 p.m. to take them to shelters when the temperature drops below 32 degrees.

Dunne and the department did not comment on the remainder of the ARPA allocation for the homeless.

D’Agostino, of the St. Patrick, gave an example of the challenges homeless service organizations face.

He said St. Patrick paid to rent to eight homeless people at the Lincoln Hotel on Olive Street in the West Downtown area. But in the last week and a half, he said, the number has grown to more than 30.

“Every day, I use my budget (for overall St. Patrick’s services) to maintain those,” D’Agostino said.

Huffman said the SLU donated space for an emergency shelter at their Il Monastero event center on Olive Street this winter, with homeless service organizations and volunteer volunteers practice it. 40-60 people are there at any given time, he said.

“It was full for days,” he said. He said two more privately operated emergency shelters in other locations are expected to open soon. They all need funding and staff, he said.

D’Agostino says Continuity of Care is search for donations online.

Originally posted at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, February 1.

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