homeless

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

The number of homeless students in Missouri has doubled over the past five years. Officials say this trend is adversely impacting education.

In the first of this two-part series, we focus our attention on school districts and what they're doing to meet the needs of students who don't have as stable place to call home.

Welcome to Gibson Elementary, home of the Geckos.

Even though it’s early, the halls are buzzing with kids eager to start the school day.

U.S. VETS

Making the transition from the military to civilian life can be difficult. 

Many veterans come out of the military with combat trauma, a condition which must be dealt with before they can move on.  And many don’t admit their condition for fear their discharge will be delayed or they won’t be able to get jobs needing a security clearance or jobs in law enforcement. 

Only a fraction of those with combat trauma register with a VA hospital.

(via Flickr/pasa47)

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.

New Life Evangelistic Center, 1411 Locust St. in downtown St. Louis.
via Flickr | pasa 47.

Reverend Larry Rice says he is tired of waiting for the city to remove barriers that have surrounded his homeless shelter in downtown St. Louis for the past five weeks.

Sidewalks on both sides of Locust Street in front of New Life Evangelistic Center are blocked off by metal barriers. Bill Seidhoff, the director of the city’s department of human services, said the city placed the barriers there after receiving calls from residents who were concerned about hygiene and safety because of the homeless people who congregate and sleep around the center.

Jim Belford | Flickr

There is good and bad news when it comes to the latest government figures on poverty in America.  The good news is that the poverty rate has more or less stabilized for the first time in three years, while the bad news is that the number of people living in poverty in the St. Louis area is well above the national average.  Join host Don Marsh for a discussion about poverty and its ripple effects in the region. 

(Tim Llloyd/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis County executive Charlie Dooley is pledging to open an emergency homeless shelter in the county by the end of the year.

Dooley announced the shift in policy in a series of Tweets on Friday. The county will also be looking for agencies to operate transitional housing - which is a stepping stone between a shelter and a permanent residence - and will host a homeless summit in October.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

A handful of homeless people milled about in the shade of a big green and white tent in suburban St. Louis County.

The massive canopy represents the latest in a string of attempts by Rev. Larry Rice of the New Life Evangelistic Center to set up a camp for the homeless.  

St. Louis County officials and police were on hand Saturday morning while Rice began setting up the camp in a vacant lot on Lada Avenue.

Officials told Rice that he did not file the proper paperwork to have a portable toilet, and that he could not have multiple tents.  

(flickr/Jack W. Reid)

As this year’s heat wave wears on, St. Louis city officials are stepping up their efforts to keep the death toll among the area’s homeless population from rising.

Department of Human Services Director Bill Siedhoff  says people living on the streets can be at greater risk for heat-related illness and death. 

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

Rev. Larry Rice directed about 20 homeless persons to a mall in Fairview Heights on Tuesday to underscore the lack of shelters in St. Clair County.

Rice says many homeless persons seeking refuge from the triple-digit temperatures wind up across the river at his shelter downtown. 

“Belleville represents what we see in so many municipalities," Rice said. "Where people just aren’t dealing with the homeless. They’re closing shelters. We saw a shelter close here – the Salvation Army – in 2009. They made no other arrangements for the homeless.”

(via Facebook/The Bridge St. Louis)

On the last Sunday in June, The Bridge – a social service agency operated out of Centenary United Methodist Church in downtown St. Louis – served its 750,000th  meal.

Volunteers dished out just over 6,000 meals in 2006, the first year The Bridge was open. Last year, more than 171,000 people accepted a free hot meal.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann sat down with Kathleen Wilder, the pastor at Centenary and the executive director of The Bridge, to reflect on what it means that so many people are in need.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

A local church is taking a more low-key approach in its struggle with city officials to set up a homeless camp in St. Louis. 

Rev. Larry Rice of the New Life Evangelistic Center was arrested last week as he attempted to open a tent city called Integrity Village on a two-acre plot of private land at Vendeventer Ave. north of Interstate 44. City officials cleared the site and condemned the area as a health hazard. But Rice's son, Rev. Chris Rice, says they aren’t giving up.

Homeless St. Louisans displaced from three riverfront camps north of downtown will now have a new place to pitch their tents.

The Rev. Larry Rice yesterday unveiled his plans for "Integrity Village," which will be established today on two privately-owned acres near Interstate 44 and Vandeventer. Rice says the camp will be Christian-based and drug-free.

City officials say they won't permit this newest camp - but Rice says he'll be protected by the First Amendment.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis city work crews demolished tents and makeshift structures with heavy machinery at another homeless camp north of the Arch grounds downtown this afternoon.

Fewer than 50 homeless persons were living at the camp known as Hopeville. All were gone by the time bulldozers and debris bins arrived today. 

St. Louis Director of Human Services Bill Siedhoff says before leaving they were given federally-funded vouchers to cover the cost of permanent housing.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

The first of three homeless camps has been razed north of downtown near the riverfront. City clean-up crews removed about ten wood structures and graded the camp known as Dignity Harbor.

St. Louis Director of Human Services Bill Siedhoff says the vacated residents have been given federally-funded vouchers to cover the cost of permanent housing.

He says the camp was too dangerous to live in.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

St. Louis to demolish plywood shacks near Mississippi River

Demolition will begin Friday at a row of plywood shacks near the Mississippi River in St. Louis where 10 homeless people have been evacuated. 

It is the first of three riverfront encampments the city ordered shut down. St. Louis Human Services Director Bill Siedhoff has said that he hopes to have all three encampments cleared out by May 18 after reports of violent crime and rat infestation.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Protesters marched from the homeless camps north of the Gateway Arch to St. Louis City Hall today demanding city officials freeze plans to raze the encampments next month.

About 50 people live in the three riverfront camps that the city’s Department of Human Services has deemed a risk to public health and safety.

(Tim Lloyd for St. Louis Public Radio)

Veterans homelessness used to be an issue associated with men, but that’s rapidly changing.

According to the General Accountability Office the number of homeless female veterans more than doubled between 2006 and 2010.

That’s a problem because the Department of Veterans Affairs has historically built its programs for men.

In the second instalment of a two part series on veterans homelessness, Tim Lloyd reports on how the VA is trying to keep up with the growing number of homeless female veterans.

(Tim Lloyd for St. Louis Public Radio)

The Department of Veterans Affairs is almost halfway through its national push to end homelessness by 2015.

And even though the agency says it’s making progress, there are still more than 67,000 homeless veterans in America.

That has the VA reaching out more and more to community partners as key allies in its battle to end veterans homelessness.

In this first installment of a two-part series on veterans' homelessness, Tim Lloyd reports on how the national initiative is strengthening local partnerships in St. Louis.

(via Flickr/pasa47)

The city of St. Louis says the 30 remaining residents of three homeless encampments located just north of downtown will have until the end of May to leave the location, or face possible arrest.

"The encampments have attracted a great deal of attention to the problems of homeless persons," said Bill Siedhoff, the city's human services director. "But they are not safe places for people to live, and they are certainly not a long-term answer to the problem."

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The 45 people that make their home in three camps north of downtown are invisible to most St. Louisans.

They lived nestled between the floodwall and the train tracks at the foot of the new Mississippi River Bridge with little city interference until January. That’s when a propane heater sparked a fire that torched three tents. Even more attention followed after one resident fatally stabbed another in May, and the city made the decision to clear the location. It's an already difficult task - made even harder by the stubbornly sluggish economy.

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