For the past week, I've been jumping from one website to the next, analyzing one study report after another, and this is what I've discovered: In 2015, UMSL's Missouri Statewide Homelessness Study Report found that around 550 children enrolled in JUST the Union, Sullivan, St. Clair, New Haven, Meramec Valley, and Londell school district were considered homeless.
While that number might not seem huge, let's break it down. Unfortunately, most homeless fall through the cracks undetected. They often have no job, no address, no means of contact. These 550 kids are the ones who attend school, the ones who have been reported as homeless. There is no way to know exactly how many in our county are living on the streets. So, we do the best with what we have. We crunch the numbers for what we do know, and one thing we know is that there are thousands of people on the edge of homelessness--and I do mean thousands. The STL Children's Services Coalition 2014 Needs Assessment showed 13,000-14,000 people in Franklin County are impoverished. Food prices aren't cheap. Neither is gasoline, utilities, vehicles, education, medicine, and especially not housing. And it is very likely that these prices will increase. We have 13,000 known neighbors hanging on by the skin of their teeth, praying that life doesn't throw anything more at them, because one more obstacle may very well be the insurmountable, and the road may become a destination.
While these numbers are important, homelessness is a very human issue. For that reason, from here we hit the streets: talk to organizations that work to combat homelessness, discover what they believe the need is, and continue on our quest to make the road a path to recovery, not a destination.
The first stop: a place thousands have turned too, yet others may not even know exists...