ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – Temperatures are dropping in the metro, causing concern for residents on the streets.
The city of St. Louis launched a winter operation Thursday to help homeless neighbors during the winter season.
The city’s Department of Human Services will continue to work with funded and volunteer outreach organizations throughout the winter to ensure vulnerable residents have access to more than 600 shelter beds, including 130 winter shelter beds.
DHS Director Dr. Joseph Scoggin says 50 additional beds will be available in the coming weeks.
“We want to make sure that no one is on the streets and in harm’s way, but in addition, we know that some people are struggling in their homes and sometimes have problems with utilities and other things that cause their gas to be cut off and a “It’s kind of an emergency. It’s necessary,” says Scoggin. “To that end, we wanted to make sure we brought in extra beds.”
In addition to increasing shelter beds, the Department of Human Services has ensured that all city-funded shelter providers remain open 24/7 throughout the winter season, as well as providing comprehensive services to address other basic needs. This includes additional support for data collection to better assist homeless residents in their transition to permanent housing.
“Those services last year only operated overnight,” says Scoggin. “It’s important that we really dig deep and develop relationships with people to provide the kind of case management that is needed to get them back home permanently. The only way you can really do that is to sit down with people, talk to people, and come up with solutions to these issues in your waking hours. “
St. Louis City DHS has partnered with the Institute for Community Alliances to help city-funded shelter operators and volunteers gather data so their clients can be counted and get the support they need. It also provides Greyhound and Metro passes to those experiencing transportation issues to reunite with their families.
In Bad weather in the city page contains additional resources and will eventually include a map of available shelters once additional providers are confirmed.
St. Louis County partners with the Salvation Army, which has an overnight warming shelter.
It was supposed to open on December 1st, but it didn’t happen as planned.
The Salvation Army sent News 4 this statement:
“The weather is changing, and as we do every year, The Salvation Army is providing warming centers throughout the St. Louis area. All our daytime heating centers will be open according to the schedule this season. Our 24-hour rewarming center at Family Haven, in partnership with St. Louis County, has experienced an unexpected delay. We are doing everything we can to accommodate those in need of housing and expect this 24/7 rewarming center to be fully operational soon. Individuals experiencing homelessness should call United Way 211 for immediate assistance.”
The St. Louis County Department of Human Services says services will still be available to those in need.
Peter Glickert with the city’s DHS says people can access shelters in the city by calling 211.
“They can find out what facilities and resources are available in that area,” says Glickert. “They’re not going to say take the bus to the Salvation Army. They’re going to work with you to make sure you have options and resources at the closest location.”
Glickert says the county also wants to provide long-term solutions and care for those who are homeless and need help.
“You come to us and you’re homeless, you can either evacuate or we’ll do something where you have a housing plan before you leave,” says Glickert. “You will never be taken out alone. We say do you want resources, do you want some kind of facility. “
Winter response operations will continue until March.
Anyone seeking shelter or assistance offered to homeless neighbors in the city or county is encouraged to contact 211 for available beds.
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