With temperatures dropping to single digits, St. Louis homeless shelters increase outreach

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ST. LOUIS – Since it's going to be the coldest night of the year so far, shelters are increasing their outreach to the homeless in St. Louis. One shelter in Soulard is changing its schedule to help get people off the street.

Peter and Paul Community Services typically offers shelter for 60 men to spend the night. But this night is different.

Management and staff were quick to respond by keeping their shelter open during daytime hours so homeless men can stay warm during the day. Normally, they would open at 6 p.m. to take in men for the night.

"You know our hours are usually like 6 a.m. in the morning, you know, to get up and go search for a job or go to work or do whatever you're going to do,” said Ricky Jackson, a caseworker at Peter and Paul. “Today, because of the temperatures, we keep them in let them stay here all day if they like."

Fox 2 checked a number of places where homeless camps have been set up in the past near the Mississippi River in downtown St. Louis and didn't see anyone on the street.

The city of St. Louis is offering extra beds at its Biddle Street Opportunity Center.

The city is asking its partner shelters to open earlier so the homeless have a warm place to stay during the day.

"We have about 250 overflow beds available for unhoused individuals that, in addition to the 930 shelter beds, that the city provides year-round," said Jacob Long, a spokesman for Mayor Lyda Krewson.

The city also has a Metro bus to be used as a warming place, located at 13th and Chestnut from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m., then the homeless will be driven to overflow shelters.

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