This article is 2 years old. It was published on November 27, 2020.
Mayor Lyda Krewson today announced that the City of St. Louis will tonight activate overflow beds as part of its Cold Weather Outreach Plan for unhoused individuals due to forecasted temperatures that are expected to hit or dip below 32℉ Friday evening and overnight.
“If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that we must do everything we can to protect the most vulnerable among us. So, for yet another winter season, the City of St. Louis stands prepared to invest more than any other governmental entity in the region to lift up and support unhoused men, women, children, and families,” said Mayor Krewson.
Like last year, the City’s Cold Weather Outreach Plan includes continuous shelter availability beginning December 1st through February 29th regardless of weather conditions. However, for the remaining days of November and for all of March, the plan will only be activated based upon the temperature hitting or dipping below 32℉. (In previous years, the City’s threshold for shelter access was 25℉ with precipitation and 20℉ without precipitation.)
Warming buses, courtesy of Metro, and shuttle buses for transportation will again be available at the intersection of 13th & Chestnut in Downtown St. Louis starting at 5:30 p.m. when the City activates its outreach plan.
This winter, there will be more than 700 total shelter beds available for unhoused individuals, including more than 380 new beds the City brought online since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some shelter locations have the flexibility to expand to accept additional individuals based on available capacity and other conditions. The City also continues to explore and secure additional shelter locations and providers to expand its capacity for overflow and homeless shelter beds.
The City is coordinating this winter with volunteer-based St. Louis Winter Outreach, the St. Louis City Continuum of Care, and other community-based partners and non-profits who together will offer nearly 70 additional overflow beds upon temperature activation.
Walk-up shelters will also be available this winter, courtesy of City Hope STL. They are located at 4371 Cook Ave. and 5631 Wells Ave.
The City’s Department of Human Services (DHS) has committed to providing its partners with cots, blankets, sheets, PPE, cleaning supplies, and other necessities. All shelter locations will adhere to the latest public health guidance and requirements set forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the City of St. Louis Department of Health (DOH) to protect the health and safety of everyone involved.
“We could not pull off this extensive undertaking without our community partners and volunteers, who give their time and talent to make this outreach program a success winter after winter. It’s a year-long planning process, and we continue to make excellent strides in becoming a regional leader in caring for unhoused individuals,” said Valerie Russell, Director of the Department of Human Services.
The City’s Weather Outreach Plan is in addition to the more than 1,800 permanent supportive housing units and more than 280 rapid rehousing units that it supports year-round for individuals who were once unhoused, which has been a major priority for Mayor Krewson’s Administration.
To date, the City has budgeted more than $17 million in federal and local funds to support homeless operations year-round and more than $15 million in federal funding through the CARES Act, Emergency Solutions Grants program, and supplemental reimbursements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support shelters and services for the unhoused community specifically during COVID-19.
“Homelessness isn’t a problem we just pay attention to in the winter. We work to connect people to housing all the time because no one can get their life back together from the sidewalk or street. But this year in particular, we remain especially resolved to implementing the prudent safety precautions required of us during this unprecedented time,” added Mayor Krewson.
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 -20℉ with light winds will cause frostbite in just 30 minutes. If you see someone who is struggling with the cold weather or in grave danger, call 9-1-1 to receive medical attention.
You can also contact the following resources for help:
- United Way of Greater St. Louis: 211
- St. Louis Housing Helpline: (314) 802-5444