In his latest Keaveny Connection, freshman Sen. Joseph Keaveny, D-St. Louis, talks about the increasing problem of homelessness during these hard economic times:
The economic crisis that our country is going through has showed us how quickly a family can be devastated by difficult financial issues such as job loss and defaulted mortgages. One of the most troubling circumstances that a family can face is
homelessness. Fortunately, our district is served by one of the most devoted and
successful organizations dedicated to recovery and self-sufficiency, the St. Patrick Centerat 800 North Tucker Boulevard. I recently visited the center and had the opportunity to meet their clientele and witness firsthand the difference that it has made in their lives.
The St. Patrick Center aims to provide those who are homeless or who are facing
homelessness the opportunities to achieve permanent and positive changes in their lives
through affordable housing, mental health services, employment and financial stability.
There are 28 housing, employment and mental health programs, with classes that
teach everything from adult basic education and GED to living skills and intense
computer skills training, within the St. Patrick Center. They also have McMurphy’s Grill
– the first program in the nation in which a full-service restaurant instructs clients on how to discover successful careers in the restaurant industry. The center has programs that allow for children to be in a safe environment while their parents receive support, and they have built a housing complex for chronically homeless men and women. Perhaps most importantly, the center assists and facilitates the gathering of several local entities in order to work together to address this issue that affects us all.
During their latest Casserole Program – which the center has been doing for 25
years – more than 2,000 volunteers, including 87 church and community groups, were
brought together to serve 155,823 hot and nutritious meals for every day of the year that St. Patrick Center participates in outreach efforts. This is just one way the organization gathers the resources and people needed to make a difference in the lives of those who often have no where else to turn. Last year, the center served more than 11,400 clients and families. Sadly, until the economic recovery fully takes hold on the country, I’mafraid that number could grow larger.