The City of St. Louis and 20 of its partners will provide mental health and other services, along with a stable place to live for chronically homeless men and women in our community.
On Tuesday, February 26 at the Missouri History Museum, Mayor Francis Slay kicked off the Homeless Summit by detailing The BEACH Project, “The Beginning of the End: Abolishing Chronic Homelessness.”
The BEACH Project will bring together federal, state and local government agencies, housing providers, faith-based organizations, non-profit agencies and businesses.
“According to a homeless census that we just finished, 138 people in our City are chronically homeless,” Mayor Francis Slay said. “That means they have lived on the street for a very long time – oftentimes because they are mentally ill, addicted to drugs or alcohol, or have a developmental disability. Most of them are men who live in or near Downtown. Most of them cannot help being homeless, but we have enough money in federal grants to help all of them.”
Starting March 1st, each of the 138 people will be visited by a case worker, who will assess his or her needs. Based on the needs, he or she will get services that will include housing assistance, intense case management, substance abuse treatment, health and mental health treatment, transportation, food and other social services. Improvements in engagement, assessment, case management and data management make the initiative possible. Funding will come from a $1.25 million federal grant.
Besides helping the 138 people, The BEACH Project will also focus on people who are at risk of becoming chronically homeless to keep them off of the streets in the first place.
“This is a big undertaking,” Mayor Slay said. “But, it has been a long time coming. Our Human Services department and its partners in the homeless network have been relentless in trying to solve this difficult problem. Presidents Bush and Obama have shown great leadership in focusing federal resources where they are needed.”
The BEACH Project is the latest initiative in the Mayor’s 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness. The plan has already reduced chronic homelessness by 38 percent. In 2005, the City identified 210 chronically homeless. Today, we have 138. As Project BEACH has success, St. Louis will be the first city to virtually end chronic homelessness.
Joining Mayor Slay are partners in the fight against homelessness: James Heard, Field Director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Philip Mangano, President and CEO of the American Round Table to Abolish Homelessness, and Bill Siedhoff, Director of the City’s Department of Human Services.
In addition to Tuesday’s Homeless Summit, the City will hold a day of engagement at the City Hall Rotunda from 10 a.m. to Noon on Friday, March 1. The Day of Engagement is an opportunity for potential program participants to receive details about the project.
Tuesday’s Homeless Summit is open to the public from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park. The summit features presentations, live performances and documentaries. The evening session will feature Philip Mangano, President & CEO of The American Round Table to Abolish Homelessness based in Boston, Mass. Mr. Mangano served as the Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) during the administration of President George W. Bush.
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