Recent discussions about the need for emergency warming centers has brought a new level of awareness to the issue of homelessness in our region during these brutally cold winter months.
How many people are in this situation, as “unsheltered homeless”, is the focus of an annual count, which St. Louis County’s Public Health and Human Service Department is conducting Thursday. The county is working with community service providers and agencies to complete a federally required Point in Time Homeless Count. The purpose is to identify people who are homeless and not staying in a shelter tonight.
An “unsheltered homeless” person, for this count, is defined as having a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation meant for people. Examples include a car, park, abandoned building or storage unit, bus or train station, airport, campground or woods.
Additionally, the count seeks to identify “doubled up” households – those that have taken in extra family or friends who have nowhere else to go. People living in this situation meet the state’s definition of homeless.
This annual survey is important because money and resources awarded to communities to fight homelessness are based on documented counts of homeless persons and families. It also provides important documentation that is considered when planning for housing needs. There is a strong attempt to connect veterans who are homeless with services that can help find them find appropriate housing.
St. Louis County will be collecting information tonight to find and document where homeless people spent tonight. For citizens who have information or for people who are homeless and willing to complete a brief survey, county staff and other partners will be at the following locations on Thursday:
Government Services Center, 320 West 2nd Street, Central Client Area
Damiano Center, 206 West 4th Street
LifeHouse-Drop in Center, 102 West 1st Street
St. Louis County Veteran’s Services Office, 4815 Burning Tree Road, #100
Duluth Warming Center (if activated), 5830 Grand Avenue
AEOA, 702 3rd Avenue South
Bill’s House shelter, 210 3rd Street North
St. Louis County Veteran’s Services Office, 307 1st Street South
Access North, 1309 E 40th Street
St. Louis County Veteran’s Services Office, 1814 14th Avenue East, #101
St. Louis County Veteran’s Services Office, 320 Miner’s Drive East
13071 Nett Lake Road-Suite B
New Moon, 1224 White Pine Circle, Tower
People also can provide information by calling United Way 211, or Chum’s Street Outreach at 218-461-8505.