© 2023 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Slay, coalition of area groups launch federally financed effort to end 'chronic homeless'

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 26, 2013 - St. Louis and its mayor, Francis Slay, were lauded Tuesday for taking what one national leader called a “business mindset’’ in its battle to combat homelessness.

“The heart is not enough,’’ said Philip Mangano, president and chief executive of the American Round Table to Abolish Homelessness, who explained that too many cities set up anti-homeless plans that are doomed to failure because they lack the necessary strategic approach.

On Tuesday, Mangano joined Slay and other top officials as they unveiled the “BEACH Project’’ that targets chronic homelessness.  The project is being funded by a $1.25 million federal grant.

The goal, said Slay, is to eradicate “chronic homelessness’’ within 18 months.

Chronic homeless are people who generally have remained on the streets for months or years, despite various assistance efforts.

“According to a homeless census that we just finished, 138 people in our city are chronically homeless,” Slay said during the news conference, part of a “Homeless Summit” at the History Musem. “That means they have lived on the street for a very long time – often times because they are mentally ill, addicted to drugs or alcohol, or have a developmental disability. Most of them are men who live in or near downtown because that’s where the services are. Most of them cannot help being homeless, but we have enough money in federal grants to help all of them.”

Slay said that one homeless man has been living downtown for at least 10 years.

The BEACH Project, said Slay, “ is an attempt to end chronic homelessness, by bringing together federal, state, and local government agencies, housing providers, faith-based organizations, non-profit agencies and businesses. The BEACH Project will also include housing assistance, intense case management, substance abuse treatment, health and mental health treatment, transportation and other services

The project will involve the city and 20 other agencies, groups or businesses who are partnering in the effort.

According to a statement from Slay’s office, “Starting March 1, each of the 138 people will be visited by a case worker, who will assess his or her needs. Based on the needs, he or she will get services that will include housing assistance, intense case management, substance abuse treatment, health and mental health treatment, transportation, food and other social services. Improvements in engagement, assessment, case management and data management make the initiative possible.”

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.