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Catholic Charities to Tackle Chronic Homelessness

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – Two weeks after state and local officials promised to end chronic homelessness in the St. Louis area, Catholic Charities has pledged its support to the effort.

Many of the group's agencies have already been working on the problem, including the St. Patrick Center.

St. Patrick's Director Dan Buck says shelters and soup kitchens provide good short-term help, but homeless who are mentally ill need a permanent solution.

"We can feed them and we can clothe them and we can sometimes shelter this chronically homeless population," Buck said. "The problem however with that approach is that we see thousands of people come into this system through the front door, but the back door is locked."

Buck says developing housing that includes mental health services is a cost-effective approach that has worked in other cities.

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