Economy
5:11 pm
Thu June 9, 2011

St. Louis to provide employment services for homeless veterans

The City of St. Louis has received $600,000 to provide homeless veterans with services.

The money will be split between the St. Patrick Center, which offers housing services, and Employment Connection which provides job training skills.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says that as approximately 12 percent of the city’s homeless are veterans.

“This is a last resort, where the veterans come back, they can’t find a job or there could be other circumstances that cause them to be homeless,” says Slay.  “As a community we can do a lot more, as businesses as government and others, to try to find opportunities for employment.”

Bill Siedhoff is the city’s Department of Human Services Director.  For too long he says regional governments have not done their share to fight homelessness.

“I mean when you talk about St. Charles County, Warren County, Metro East…there is very little in the way of any kind of help,” says Siedhoff.  “And when people become homeless they come to the City of St. Louis to seek services, and that’s ridiculous.  I mean if the city is going to end homelessness, we’re going to need help.”

The City of St. Louis is in the sixth year of a 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness.  It has received $52.5 million in federal grants to help homeless over the last five years.

Since implementing the plan in 2005, the City has seen a 30 percent reduction in the number of homeless people.

Homeless veterans can apply for these services by calling Employment Connection at 314-333-5627.