St. Louis marks halfway point in effort to end chronic homelessness | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis marks halfway point in effort to end chronic homelessness

Feb 10, 2011

The city of St. Louis today marked the halfway point in its ten-year effort to end chronic homelessness.

A five-year report released today shows a 20 percent drop in the city's chronically homeless since 2005.

Chronic homelessness is defined as those homeless for a year or more or four times over a three-year period.

The report also states that the overall homeless population also decreased, from about 1,500 in 2005 to about 1,300 last year.

"And that says a lot considering the economy...the uptick, the tremendous uptick in foreclosures and what's happening there," Mayor Francis Slay said.

The city has added nearly 150 beds for the chronically homeless over the past five years.

Human Services Director Bill Siedhoff says the progress is significant considering the economy, but he says much more needs to be done by 2015.

"I think our approach is going to have to be even more aggressive," Siedhoff said, "That we're going to have to work more with the surrounding counties and the Metro East, to bring them into the discussion, to bring them into the process so that they are, in fact, developing resources along with us."

Siedhoff says data have shown about half of the homeless population in St. Louis comes from outside the city.

Officials also announced an $8.6 million federal grant to support homeless service providers within the city.