Finding housing for the homeless participants we work with at Paraquad can be difficult. There is a large need for affordable housing in the St. Louis area, and the growth of subsidized housing has been minimal. Last July, the waiting list for Section 8 housing opened for one week after having been closed for seven years.
I’ve recently had some hard cases come to fruition and have been able to move two people out of homelessness. It was gratifying to watch these two people go through the system and get the assistance that helped them move from shelters and abandoned building to apartments. When they both called me in the same week to tell me their good news, I was overcome with joy.
The first person was able to get assistance from the Missouri Department of Mental Health’s Midwest Special Needs Trust. The program helped the participant pay a deposit on an apartment at the Salvation Army Midland Division‘s new 3010 Apartments project. Missouri has not always had a good track record in using tax credits to build low income housing as can be seen in this article. The folks at the Salvation Army did a great job, and Paraquad is in the process of moving several participants into those apartments.
The second person worked with the St. Louis Office of Developmental Disability Resources and was able to get assistance from the Horizon Club. After many episodes of homelessness and living in abandoned building, this participant was able to get a Shelter Plus Care Housing voucher. Working together with the staff at the Horizon Club, Paraquad able to get a voucher so this person could move out of the abandoned building and into an apartment.
There is the saying it takes a village to raise a child, but I am sure it take many agencies working together to start to make a dent in the number of people with disabilities who are homeless.
Dave Haessig is a Transition Specialist at Paraquad. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: The Salvation Army Midland Division