ST. LOUIS — As temperatures drop, many St. Louis-area organizations are opening their doors to help those dealing with homelessness or struggling to heat their homes stay warm. There are also resources available for Missouri and Illinois residents who are struggling to pay the heating bill this time of year.
Freezing weather can be dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prolonged exposure to cold, especially without proper clothing, can use up the body’s stored energy and result in illnesses like hypothermia or frostbite.
Hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature, can affect the brain and make a person unable to think clearly or move well, according to the CDC. Frostbite often occurs in the fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks or chin and can permanently damage body tissues.
Warming shelters offer those dealing with homelessness an opportunity to avoid injury and secure a safe place to rest.
The United Way has a list of warming centers across the bistate area that open their doors to those seeking shelter during excessive cold. Click here to access the 2022-23 list, which is sorted by zip code.
For assistance finding a location near you, dial 211 to connect with a trained resource specialist.
If you plan on visiting one of the centers, the United Way recommended calling ahead to reserve a spot. Some may have COVID-19 safety measures in place to prevent overcrowding.
The Salvation Army - Family Haven will operate St. Louis County's warming shelter beginning Dec. 1 through March 12. The shelter is located at the Salvation Army-Family Haven on 10740 Page Ave.
The shelter will provide hot meals, laundry facilities and case management services. The hours of operation are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In the City of St. Louis, warming shelters are located at:
- St. Patrick Center, 800 N. Tucker Blvd.
- Biddle House Opportunity Center, 1212 N. 13th St.
A seasonal statement from city officials indicates they are collaborating with several other organizations to provide resources in these conditions. They include:
- Peter & Paul Community Services.
- Gateway 180.
- BJC Behavioral.
- Places for People.
- St. Louis County Continuum of Care.
- St. Louis Housing Helpline.
- St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
- St. Louis Winter Outreach and VA Street Outreach.
A complete list of shelters available can be found at the St. Louis website.
For a map of all the warming centers around the Bi-State, click here.
Heating bills can be expensive in the winter months, and inflation has only made it worse.
The National Energy Assistance Directors' Association projected natural gas costs to go up by 34.4% and electricity up by 6.9% this year compared to the 2021-2022 heating season.
For those struggling to stretch their budget, there are resources available to cut down the costs of energy bills.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is a federal program that assists qualified families in paying energy bills, including electricity, natural gas, propane, fuel, oil or wood.
Spire Energy also has many programs available to help customers with their bills if they are struggling.