This article is 3 years old. It was published on October 30, 2019.
ST. LOUIS -- The City of St. Louis will once again this winter invest more than any other governmental entity in the region to address the important issue of homelessness.
The City’s Cold Weather Shelter & Outreach will include continuous shelter availability beginning December 1 through February 29 with an activation threshold for the rest of October and during the months of November and March. That threshold is when temperatures fall below 32°F. Previously, the City’s threshold was 20°F without precipitation or 25°F with precipitation.
Warming buses will again be available this winter season at the intersection of 13th & Chestnut downtown in order to take people to shelters between 5:30 and 7:00 p.m. when the City’s Cold Weather Shelter & Outreach is activated. The City also intends to make Metro passes available at no additional cost for those who might need help with transportation.
“The City of St. Louis dedicates more resources to help our most vulnerable populations than any other governmental partners in the region. This revised approach will help protect people who are in need, and provide improved, more consistent services,” Mayor Lyda Krewson said.
Additionally, the City’s Department of Human Services (DHS) has earmarked $500,000 from Use Tax revenue to fund an additional 186 overflow beds for individuals and families and to purchase supplies. This is on top of the 930 emergency beds the City supports year-round and on top of its continued support for rehousing more than 1,400 individuals and families who were once chronically homeless.
The City also continues to coordinate with St. Louis Winter Outreach, St. Louis City Continuum of Care and a number of other community-based partners and non-profits, who offer outreach, shelter and transport based on temperature activation.
“Caring for the most vulnerable populations in the City takes enormous time and effort, but we can always use the community’s help. If you see someone or know someone who needs to be in a shelter this winter, please call 211 or 911 to be connected with the City’s Continuum of Care,” Mayor Krewson added.
Since 2015, the City has collaborated with a number of agencies and service providers to support additional shelter and outreach during the winter months. Specifically, under Mayor Krewson’s Administration, the City has grown to become the regional leader in working to address homelessness not just during the cold winter months, but all year long. For example, during FY18 the City allocated $17.2 million on homelessness and housing services. That is the largest allocation in the region of both local and federal funds directed at this issue.
“During the winter months, our community comes together to save lives. However, this has to be more than just during inclement weather. The City has come a long way in a short amount of time and will continue to evolve services to meet the needs, but we could use a higher level of involvement from our regional governmental partners and our community-based and corporate partners to effect greater change,” said Irene Agustin, Director of Human Services for the City of St. Louis.
It’s important to remember that exposure to the cold can cause frostbite and/or hypothermia and become potentially life-threatening. A wind chill of just -20°F with light winds will cause frostbite in half an hour. If you see someone who is struggling with the cold weather, please call 911 to receive medical attention.
You can also contact the following resources:
- St. Louis Housing Helpline: (314) 802-5444
- United Way: 211
- Biddle Housing Opportunities Center: (314) 612-1675