As St. Louis gets colder, another option for the homeless emerges
ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - Another option has emerged in St. Louis for the homeless population to escape the cold.
Grace House, a homeless shelter funded and run by the St. Patrick Center, opened its doors this week.
This comes as temperatures are expected to be in the teens next week.
“The community needs a safe haven, a place people can go, into and through the system, to get to a more supported housing situation as quickly as possible,” said CEO of the St. Patrick Center Anthony D’Agostino.
It is a homeless shelter meant for around 25 people but can bring on more. It supports folks with mental health issues and substance abuse problems.
“So if somebody comes with major issues with mental health and substance use, we have a lot of training staff here that can help those individuals and get them to the right place,” said D’Agostino.
D’Agostino said they don’t allow illicit substances or booze inside and have basic rules such as ‘no fighting.’
The organization is currently funding the entire project but is working out plans with St. Louis for the city to step in with American Rescue Plan Act dollars to pay for part of it.
It is the only facility of its kind in the city.
“We’re the only ones right now, maybe there is more coming, we’re hoping,” D’Agostino.
Another option is the Salvation Army’s Family Haven. That’s a 24/7 facility that the Salvation Army said also takes in those with substance abuse problems. It is located in St. Louis County, near Creve Coeur and Maryland Heights.
But plenty of people that have roofs over their heads are also struggling.
Gentry Trotter, founder of HeatUpStLouis.org, is preparing for their annual ‘Rise and Shine for Heat’ fundraiser that is planned for next month.
He tells News 4 there’s a 48 percent increase of folks that need help with utilities compared to last year.
And if that’s you, he said don’t wait until they threaten to turn off the heat. Tell your utility company as soon as possible that you need assistance.
“Don’t wait until the end of the month, don’t wait two days or three days, we have 38 percent of our people come say they’re being disconnected today or tomorrow. That shouldn’t work because if you don’t qualify for energy assistance, you will get shut off,” said Trotter.
The organization, which has helped millions since its inception, recently got a $1 million grant to help St. Louis County residents with their heating bills. Trotter said that allows them to wipe some people’s bills clean.
But, he said, that money only goes so far.
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