Homelessness
5:15 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

St. Louis Officials: Federal Grant Could End Chronic Homelessness In 18 Months

St. Louis officials say a new federal grant could enable them to end long-term homelessness in the city in 18 months.

The city announced today that it had received $1.25 million to provide services like rental assistance, substance abuse and mental health treatment, and other support for those who have been living on the street long-term. 

Previous federal grants could only be used for specific populations, says human services director Bill Siedhoff. The new federal money will provide those critical support services to a broader population.

"You can’t just merely place someone in an apartment or wherever and expect that everything is going to go well," he said.

The new grant will last for 18 months, and Philip Mangano, the head of the American Roundtable to Abolish Homelessness, says St. Louis could abolish chronic homelessness within that time period.

"Nowhere have I seen a more concerted and committed effort to remedy the wrong and end the long misery of homelessness than I have seen right here in St. Louis," said Mangano, who served as the director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Siedhoff says the city will constantly be looking for funds to supplement and continue the grant. He says the latest count found 138 chronically homeless individuals in the city limits, down from 210 in 2005.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann