SAINT LOUIS, Mo. — Temperatures were at dangerous lows this week.
The snow and ice made it unsafe for anyone, but especially for those who are experiencing homelessness.
One group that provides them shelter is now facing an issue of its own.
Bishop Michael Robinson, CEO of City Hope St. Louis says, “The nation is in a hiring labor crisis so it's very difficult to find staff.”
Help is needed. But, even short-staffed, City Hope St. Louis gave hundreds of unhoused people in the city warm beds and meals during the winter storm. The group ran its eight locations at full capacity, many open 24 hours a day.
Bishop Robinson says the organization’s workers see, firsthand, how dangerous the low temperatures can be for the residents without housing in St. Louis.
“We've seen it where individuals have come into our shelters with frostbite and infections in their hands and in their feet because of being exposed to these low temperatures. Before we can even get their name or any other information, we're running and trying to get them treated to make sure that they're okay and help to relieve some of that pain that they experience," says Robinson.
Their work doesn’t stop when the snow melts.
Bishop Robinson says, "Homelessness is not a seasonal thing so that's why we operate year-round and we've been operating year-round since 2019 nonstop. We're operating shelters every day.”
City Hope’s CEO tells 5 On Your Side the grip that homelessness holds on the St. Louis community seems to be tightening. He adds, “We know that there is a huge population of younger people that are coming to our shelters both young men and especially a large increase in the young women that are coming into our sites. It's extremely alarming to us. So, what we know is that this population seems to be increasing and it's spanning down to another generation.”
The group says they’ve seen more people experiencing homelessness for the first time.
Robinson explains, “These are well educated, well-motivated individuals that unfortunately have fallen on hard times and have had to evacuate their homes.”
Because the need is growing, City Hope St. Louis is searching for more helping hands to tackle the work.
“We are hiring and we're looking for good quality staff members that know how to serve with love, dignity, and respect," Robinson stated.
City Hope is looking for site support staff, case managers, and cooks. Click here for information on how to apply.
If you’re looking for shelter, you can call 314-904-HOPE for more information on available shelter space or just dial 2-1-1.