St. Louis, MO. – Two weeks after a controversial downtown shelter for the homeless closed - people are looking for a new place to stay. The New Life Evangelistic Center's closure left many with nowhere to go.
Inside the 12th Street Rec Center, women of all ages are seeking shelter from the streets.
"Accommodating me with anything I need when I need referrals, they make sure we eat really well every day and that's something I didn’t do on my own," explained Carolyn Burton, who has been staying at Windsor Women’s Shelter for about two weeks.
The shelter is temporarily using part of the Rec Center’s building.
"I've been here a couple of days when New Life Evangelist Center closed down and I had nowhere to go,” said Sherrea Browe, another woman who is residing at Windsor.
The program is supported by the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund Commission, to accommodate people from all over the City, including those who used to stay at New Life.
"A lot of confusion among the people who weren’t really sure why it was closed and who were very devoted to that mission," said Shelter Executive Director, Kathleen Beach, in reference to the closing of NLEC.
Pauletter Miller has been residing at Windsor since day one. Miller was homeless in Wichita, Kansas for some time, and decided to return home to St. Louis.
"When I first came here, it was like, I could count on 1 hand how many people were here, and now they're coming out of the woodworks."
Beach says her priority is to stop the cycle of homelessness and help these women find appropriate housing opportunities.
"Our goal is to have everybody either placed in to their own apartment or in to a permanent emergency shelter and from there they will go in to their own apartment," Beach said.
Burton says everyone should take note of the compassion with which Windsor treats those who are without a home.
“Just because you're homeless, they don't make you feel indifferent, they make you feel welcome."
This week City and County agencies are meeting to talk about long-term placement plans. Windsor will operate at the Rec Center through May 25th. It’s hopeful to place most all of its current tenants by then.
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