homeless

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By April 2013, the latest state data showed the number of homeless students in St. Louis Public Schools had doubled over the past three school years.

At the time, Deidre Thomas-Murray, the coordinator of students in transition, described what these numbers look like in practice.  

photo of NLEC. Only emergency shelter in the region that will take anyone. Run by Larry Rice
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

A two year-long battle over the fate of a downtown St. Louis homeless shelter could come to an end on Tuesday, when a city agency votes on a petition to revoke New Life Evangelistic Center’s hotel license.

Downtown residents and business owners began petitioning to close New Life two years ago, saying that the facility is a detriment to the neighborhood.

Mayor Francis Slay requested that the two sides undergo mediation in October, but New Life founder Rev. Larry Rice said the mediation was not successful.

After 13 years, homeless advocate Bill Siedhoff stepped down in November from his post as director of the St. Louis Department of Human Services.

“It’s been a very rewarding career, I would say,” Siedhoff told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Wednesday. As director, Siedhoff was responsible for overseeing services for youth, the elderly, the disabled and the homeless.

Want to rock out to holiday music while supporting a local charity? Easy.

At Home(s) for the Holidays, concertgoers donate the cost of their ticket to one of four local charities.

Researcher and consultant Iain De Jong speaks about ending chronic homelessness on November 20, 2014 at Christ Church Cathedral.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Those who want to help the homeless—whether by offering a hot meal or a temporary bed—should focus instead on trying to find them a permanent home as quickly as possible.

That's what researcher Iain De Jong told about 40 people gathered at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis Thursday for a presentation on ending chronic homelessness.

Curesa Atkins sits in her apartment at the Garfield Commons.
Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

When Curesa Atkins moved into her apartment at Garfield Commons, a group from her church decorated it for her.

“It was snowing, and I just thought, 'Thank God. I’m watching it from the other side of the window when there’s so, so many people out there,'” Atkins said.

Atkins, a 42-year-old former dental assistant, said she became homeless after a dealing with series of car repairs, a change in her marital status and, eventually, the loss of her job.

The former Garfield School in St. Louis has been renovated and will open on Nov. 19, 2014, as Garfield Commons with 25 apartments for single chronically homeless adults.
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When Garfield Commons, the former Garfield Elementary School in St. Louis, formally opens this week, it will provide 25 apartments for single homeless adults and assist 40 homeless and HIV-positive people annually.

“The individuals who are moving into Garfield Commons are coming from a chronically homeless background, as well as folks who have had recurring issues with substance abuse, folks who have significant mental illness,” program director Adam Pearson told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Monday. “We’ll be providing both housing and supportive services.”

photo of NLEC. Only emergency shelter in the region that will take anyone. Run by Larry Rice
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

A nearly two-year-old fight to close the New Life Evangelistic Center in downtown St. Louis will last a while longer. 

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

The VA St. Louis Health Care System hosted a veterans’ resource fair Saturday in downtown St. Louis. Several hundred people attended the event, which expanded on the St. Louis VA’s fall Homeless Veterans Stand Down event to provide employment, education, health and legal services in addition to resources to help veterans find housing.                    

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

If the latest counts are accurate, the population of homeless veterans in the City of St. Louis is now zero. The city gave 51 veterans the keys to their own apartments Wednesday, providing housing for the last group of known homeless vets in the city.

At an event announcing Operation Reveille, St. Louis Department of Human Services Director Bill Siedhoff said homeless veterans have been a focus for his office.

Lance Holmes takes a drink after practice, right before Deisner, right, gives a post-practice talk to the team.
Stephanie Zimmerman | St. Louis Public Radio Intern

Street soccer takes on a different meaning this Saturday. The St. Louis Roadies will host a tournament, shutting down a block of Morgan Ford Road. This team, made up of men who are homeless or have been homeless at some point during their lives, uses this annual event to raise funds so The Roadies can travel to San Francisco to compete in the upcoming national tournament for homeless soccer teams.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon)

This winter, St. Louis County did something it hadn't done before - it opened a temporary shelter where homeless men and women could go to get out of the cold. It's a small piece of a 10-year plan to battle homelessness that St. Louis City and County signed onto in 2004. But obstacles remain to implementing the rest of the ideas in that document.

What is "homelessness?"

Robert Peterson / St. Louis Public Radio

Officials with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs were in St. Louis today in an effort to get homeless veterans off the street and into housing immediately.

The outreach to veterans was part of the required winter count of homeless people in the city. Officials with the VA went out with teams, conducting the count to be able to offer immediate help to chronically homeless veterans. It was part of the Obama administration's efforts to end homelessness among veterans by 2015.

(via Flickr / lateaserikard)

When the weather turns freezing cold, we’re advised to stay indoors as much as possible. But what happens to those without homes to stay warm in? 

That concern is what led Teka Childress to found St. Louis Winter Outreach nine years ago. On nights when the temperature reaches below twenty degrees, volunteers with the St. Louis Winter Outreach go out in search of the homeless and offer them rides to shelters.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis City officials are mobilizing to protect the city's homeless population as an arctic weather front is forecast to plunge the region into sub-zero temperatures late this weekend.

The National Weather Service says a winter storm could dump nearly a foot of snow on the St. Louis area by Sunday evening. The overnight low temperature on Sunday is forecast to reach -8 degrees with daytime highs on Monday peaking near -2 degrees.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon)

For the 10th year,  St. Louis residents joined social service providers and city officials at Centenary United Methodist Church Saturday to remember the homeless men and women who died in 2013.

A bell chimed as the Rev. Kathleen Wilder read the names - 16 in all. 

Two died of drug overdoses. Another was an infant, killed by a runaway car. Robyn Robel was fatally strangled and dumped along the Riverfront Trail in April.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Rev. Larry Rice opened his emergency shelter at the New Life Evangelistic Center in 1976 with permission from the city to house 32 people. Back then, the area around his building at 1411 Locust was mostly factories and warehouses for St. Louis’ garment district.

Many of those buildings are now loft apartments with bars and restaurants on the first floor, and Rice admits to regularly sheltering as many as 300 people a night.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

An effort by a group of downtown St. Louis residents to shutter the New Life Evangelistic Center got underway on Tuesday in front of the city's Board of Public Service.

It was the first of what will be several days of testimony on whether the homeless shelter run by the Rev. Larry Rice is a detriment to the surrounding neighborhood. The quasi-judicial proceeding was prompted by a petition from 134 people who own property within a prescribed radius of the shelter, which is at the corner of 14th and Locust streets.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Josh Schindler is an attorney who has been advocating for parents who have fought to pull their children out of the unaccredited Riverview Gardens and Normandy school districts. 

But the plight of homeless students has added another layer to the school transfer debate, he said.

(via Flickr/woodleywonderworks)

The BEACH Project, an initiative focused on quickly creating permanent housing and additional services for the city’s chronically homeless, received an additional $1 million to continue its mission.

Bill Siedhoff, director of human services for the City of St. Louis, says that the funding is essential for the project’s goal to end chronic homelessness in St. Louis by 2015.

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