[Hpn] Housing needs here outstrip available aid, agencies say;St. Louis, MO.;11/13/01
Morgan W. Brown
Tue, 13 Nov 2001 18:38:24 -0500
Tuesday, November 13, 2001
St. Louis Post Dispatch <http://www.stltoday.com>
[St. Louis, Missouri]
STLtoday: in news
Housing needs here outstrip available aid, agencies say
BY NORM PARISH
Of the Post-Dispatch
11/12/2001 08:35 PM
For Sarah Jackson, the Housing Resource Center, which has provided more than
$800 to help keep a roof over her head, is a lifesaver. For Yvette Scales,
the St. Louis center, which rejected her request, is a disappointment.
The center's officials point to success stories like Jackson over the last
decade. But they fear that as companies lay off workers, there will be more
and more cases like Scales - those in need of housing who will go unserved
as agencies like the Housing Resource Center, strapped for cash, can't help
Agencies across the region report increased requests for help but say their
ability to meet those requests hasn't increased.
Last month, the Housing Resource Center received 1,500 requests for
assistance - a 10 percent increase over the same month last year, officials
there said. Last year, only about one in five of 10,000 assistance requests
The St. Patrick Center, which rents space to the Housing Resources Center
downtown, has also noticed a dramatic increase for assistance. Requests for
daily hot meals are up 50 percent, said Kim LaSalle, a spokeswoman at the
At the St. Louis Housing Authority, there is now a two-year wait for Section
8 federal housing vouchers. The Housing Authority has temporarily stopped
accepting applications for the program.
At the same time, there is a three-month wait to get into older public
housing developments like Clinton-Peabody. Newer developments, like Murphy
Park, have stopped taking new resident applications because they have a
three-year wait, officials said.
The grim news comes as agencies mark National Homeless Month in November.
"I don't think people realize the extent of the housing problem in the
community," said Katrina Knight, executive director of the Housing Resource
Center, a program started by Catholic Charities in 1990. "There are
thousands of working families. But they can't make it work."
Edward Pattin, 41, had little savings when he was laid off as a computer
analyst for a consulting firm in August. Now, he is waiting to receive about
$600 worth of assistance from the Resource Center.
"I am behind in my rent, child support and telephone bills," said Pattin, of
St. Louis. "I am basically behind in everything. My gas has been cut off. I
have two electric heaters. It has been pretty rough."
Resource Center officials say they believe they can help Pattin, but it is
tough. Last year, the agency, which receives both public and private
funding, received only $120,000 to help families in St. Louis and St. Louis
County. The center typically steers homeless families to about 528 beds at
roughly 17 shelters in the city and county, officials said.
Often the sites are close to being filled, officials said.
Scales, who was recently rejected by the Resource Center, is living in a
crowded St. Louis apartment with relatives. Scales and her two children -- 9
and 14 - all sleep together in a bed in a living room.
Scales said she moved in with a relative when she lost her job as a medical
biller. She said she lost that job in September after she was out of work
for several weeks because of an auto accident in which she dislocated her
hip and broke a foot and leg.
"I'm going to need therapy to learn how to walk again," Scales said.
But Jackson credits the center with helping her keep a home for herself and
her 23-month-old toddler. Jackson, who has received more than $800 in rent
assistance, works part-time as a claims analyst so she can spend more time
with her child, who underwent a tracheotomy because of breathing problems.
"If I didn't get help, I would have to go back to work full-time and instead
of spending time with my daughter while she is getting medical assistance,"
Reporter Norm Parish:
---End of forwarded article---
~~~Related Web sites -- fyi:
Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of St. Louis
Family and Community Services:
Housing Resource Center:
~~~Additional St. Louis housing information available at:
St. Louis Housing - Official City of St. Louis site:
Adequate Housing For Missourians:
Equal Housing Opportunity Council of Metropolitan St. Louis:
Housing Comes First:
-- Housing Comes First (HCF) is a Missouri citizens' coalition working to
preserve housing and neighborhoods for people with low and moderate incomes.
**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this
material is distributed without charge or profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.**
-------End of forward-------
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
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