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Readers: City Justified In Clearing Out The Homeless Camps

Readers who took the poll last  clearly support the city’s efforts to clear out homeless camps:

Q: City justified in clearing out [the] homeless camps?

  1. Yes 108 [75%]
  2. No 23 [15.97%]
  3. Maybe 8 [5.56%]
  4. Unsure/No Opinion 4 [2.78%]
  5. Other: 1 [0.69%] – “justified, yes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was the best solution.”

My post introducing the poll is here.

I agree with the city the camps are no way to live, I also know that some just don’t want to live in housing.

– Steve Patterson


Poll: City Justified In Clearing Out Homeless Camps?

For a couple of years some homeless had set up camp near the riverfront. But that’s changing:

Hopeville was the second of three riverfront camps that the city plans to clear by May 18. The first, Dignity Harbor, was bulldozed last week. Officials said they have offered housing vouchers to residents of all the camps so they can stay in hotels and apartments. (STLtoday.com on 5/11/2012)

I visited Hopeville last year and while I was sympathetic to their situation I was also repulsed by what I saw.

ABOVE: The "Hopeville" camp in June 2011

The poll this week asks if the city was justified in clearing out these camps. The poll is in the right sidebar below the advertisement.

– Steve Patterson


The Homeless Don’t Drink Bottled Samuel Adams

December 2, 2011 Crime, Downtown, Featured, Homeless 8 Comments

Last month I noticed two beer bottles on a window sill (Ely Walker bldg) on 16th between Washington Ave & St. Charles Street. It was a Saturday so I figure someone had a nice Friday night.  But who?

ABOVE: November 19, 2011

Often it is the homeless that are accused of public drinking, and no doubt some do. But they aren’t drinking Samuel Adams Latitude 48 IPA:

Samuel Adams® Latitude 48 IPA is a unique IPA brewed with a select blend of hops from top German, English, and American growing regions all located close to the 48th latitude within the “hop belt” of the Northern Hemisphere. The combination of hops in this beer creates a distinctive but not overpowering hop character. The beer is dry hopped with Ahtanum, Simcoe®*, and East Kent Goldings hops for a powerful citrus and earthy aroma. The hop character is balanced by a slight sweetness and full body from the malt blend.

I’ve not tried this beer or any of the others in their Brewmaster’s Collection, though I’m sure it’s a fine beer. Please don’t blame everything on those without homes.

– Steve Patterson


Walk The Path The Homeless Do, Saturday 11/19

For those of you that think the homeless have it easy, with meals and other services handed to them, have I got the event for you!

To conclude National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week The Bridge takes you on a walk for a couple of hours:

The Bridge invites you to the 4th Annual Walking Home event on Saturday, November 19

Doors open at 9:00 a.m, Event starts at 10:00

Lunch following The Walk

Music by The St. Louis Big Band

Experience a small part of the journey traveled every day by hundreds of residents of downtown St. Louis who are currently without a home.

Walk in their shoes. Hear their stories.

Learn how you can make a difference.

The Walk is a no-fee event. Free-will donations are welcome.

ABOVE: The Olive St entry to The Bridge, click for map.

Lunch is provided after the walking tour, donations are accepted but not required. This event will take place rain or shine! Parking is available but the #10 Gravois/Lindell MetroBus has a stop at 16th & Olive. Numerous other bus lines are nearby as is MetroLink light rail (equal distance from Union Station & Civic Center stations).

– Steve Patterson


Thoughts After a Food Drive

August 4, 2011 Economy, Homeless 22 Comments
ABOVE: Food collected in first 2 hours on Saturday July 31st

I spent two hours Saturday morning collecting food donations. Overall it was a rewarding experience, helping others often is. But I have some mixed emotions. First the bad.

Some people couldn’t be bothered. Saying “no thanks” as a response to my “good morning, I’m collecting food for the hungry.” Really? No thanks? WTF!?! Yeah, a 39¢ can of tuna or a $1 can off green beans is asking way to much. How dare I trouble them to help others eat?

While I was upset by how uncaring some were, I was blown away by the thoughtfulness and generosity of others.

ABOVE: Flyer for Saturday Jubilee held on July 31st

Early on a security guard put cash into the collection jar. An hour later he put in some more, probably $4-$5 total for both times. When I thanked him the second time he said something that really made an impression, something like “I may need help myself someday.” He was paying it forward.

One mom had her daughter, who was probably 4-5, put the items they purchased in the donation cart. It was so sweet and a good lesson for the little girl about the joy of helping others.

Some donations came from visitors who were downtown for a convention. How great is that? People that don’t even live here were willing to donate food to help our hungry citizens.

The store was very busy, I wasn’t able to talk to every person as they entered the store. As one woman was leaving she came over to ask what I was doing, so I explained. She already had 3-4 bags of groceries and was on her way out the door. I told her I’d watch her bags as she went back in to get cash. A few minutes later she came back and deposited a crisp $20 bill. She said she was fortunate and wanted to help others. I was astonished!

It seemed the most generous were the once who didn’t appear they could afford to help others. Conversely, those who seemed most able to afford to buy an extra item didn’t.

I hope that none of the people I talked to ever need a free meal or food from a local pantry, but the odds are they just might.

The Saturday Jubilee collected food to help pantries throughout the region. I bought $4 worth of stuff before 9am to put into the cart to get the ball rolling, I was afraid the cart would be empty at the end of my two hour shift. The food & cash collected at Culinaria and three Schnuck’s locations in St. Louis County went directly to The Bridge.  A long list of organizations benefitted from the event.

Many voted in Toyota’s “100 Cars for Good” contest the next day as Operation Food Search won a new Toyota on day 84 of the contest, beating out 4 other worthy organizations. Here was how they planned to use a new vehicle:

Our dietitians and their volunteers currently travel within a 75 mile radius around the bi-state region with food and cooking supplies to provide nutrition information to more than 4,000 low-income families. Our Cooking Matters team needs reliable, secure transportation, with ample space for their gear and staff, to continue their hands-on outreach program in our community. The families and individuals we reach rely on our team to learn how to keep their children healthy on a tight budget. Our current vehicle has nearly 190,000 miles on it and is falling apart. A new vehicle would be an asset to not only Operation Food Search, but to strengthening our community as a whole.

The positives certainly outweighed the negatives, looking forward to next year!

– Steve Patterson