Emergency Weather Response Plans

When temperatures are predicted to be 20 degrees or colder from Nov. 13 – Mar. 12 the tri-county Emergency Weather Response Hotline will be activated.  This means that homeless people can call to get instructions on where to go for a warm sheltering night.  Churches will be opened again this year, and possibly some hotels as well, depending on the daily situations that might present.

Last winter, 168 nights of lodging were provided to those in need, including pets.  Be sure to pass on the hotline number to anyone in need.  Keep it handy in your phone list, so you can share when the time comes for the need to be addressed.

If you know of people or churches that might like to get involved in this project, let us know.  We’ll help you get connected to the ones who can make that happen!

FSBH Christmas Wonderland Blessings!

Our 13th Annual Christmas Wonderland, December 11, 2021, happened on a very chilly and windy day at the Wentzville United Methodist Church.  This year’s event turned into a tailgate party as it was too windy for setting up any tents or gazebos on the parking lot for the drive through event.  548 needy people from 120 fragile families registered for this popular annual Birthday Party for Jesus celebration. In addition to the homeless and working poor, about 100 people from the community contributed time and gifts to provide for the success of the event.

Santa and the Mrs. were on hand to wave at kiddos in their cars as they passed by his chair, and the Youth Circus Troupe from Kinetic Tapestry provided stilt walking, juggling, and clowning entertainment as cars were driving in the parking lot. Festive Christmas music was playing throughout the afternoon, thanks to local DJ, Mike Schlipp.

About 250 toys came from Toys for Tots, and 120 filled laundry/cleaning baskets were donated by ministry friends. Each family was given a new handmade quilt from the Afternoon Quilt Guild of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Des Peres, and they were also given $25 gift cards from Jim & Barb McCormick, Wentzville UMC Men’s Group, the Lori Depp Memorial Fund, Mike & Kim Hudson, Bill & Kathy Schweikert and other ministry donors.

The Grace Community Chapel, St. Peters, team assembled tasty holiday food treats under the leadership of Janice and Mike O’Rourke. The 100 teens each received gift bags including ear buds, new socks and $10 gift cards donated by the Tammy Stratman Brown Charity Foundation, led by Cheryl Russell.

Handmade dolls were given from the Stitches for Life group, St. Peters.  Additionally diapers were donated by Crisis Nursery in Wentzville, and 270 new Bibles were given away from the Matthias’ Lot Church, St. Charles.  Dawn Bray coordinated all the client registration functions.

Let us know how you or your group would like to get involved for next year.  For information contact Lana Kruse: lanakruse@gmail.com or 314-799-3694.



Poverty Facts in Our Region

  • The population of St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren Counties is 500,000 (2020).
  • The number of people living below the poverty level of $21,000 is 15% or 75,000 in these three counties.
  • The minimum wage, even after minimum wage increase, is equal to the poverty level income of $10/hr.
  • A living wage for 1 adult is $13.72/hour. Unskilled, low-educated workers around here are lucky to make $9/hr. which is $10,000 less than a yearly living wage. (Resource – Missouri Living Wage Calculator)
  • The definition of a living wage is the amount of income it takes to provide basic necessities for a person or family, which is food, clothes, housing, transportation, taxes, insurance and more. (Resource- State of Missouri definition)
  • If you have kids it takes a big jump from there. The living wage for 1 adult and 1 child is $28.65/hr.; 1 adult and 2 kids is $34.97/hr. Obviously this is impossible for people to reach making a minimum wage.
  • Most of our clients are single or a family with multiple children.
  • In 2020, the Coordinated Entry central resource and data service for our region received 10,000 calls for help from the poor which are people making at or less than a living wage or homeless. This is the organization that sends us referrals on a daily basis.
  • The State of Missouri has about the same averages. There are 6,126,452 people in our state, so 15% of that means there are more than 900,000 poor people in Missouri.
  • This is not a good report for the richest nation in the world. We need more people and funding to help those in marginalized sectors have a decent life, by helping them receive the basic necessities of life here in the U.S.

THIS is the serious situation that First Step Back Home (FSBH) strives to address for the homeless and near-homeless in our region. FSBH does its absolute best, within its financial means, to help everyone who can prove that they are honestly trying to help themselves. We give ourselves to homelessness prevention and crisis intervention.

Paul and Lana Kruse, Founders of First Step Back Home, Inc.

Paul and Lana Kruse, Founders of First Step Back Home, Inc.

FSBH is unique… key to the program’s good success rate is that assistance is provided only to those who are capable of, and agree in advance to, actively seeking self-supporting status.

Eligibility criteria and screening serve to eliminate active addicts, con artists, those who have serious physical or mental handicaps that would prevent them from finding work in the near term, and those not honestly interested in seeking work at all.

FSBH tracks the status of those to who help has been provided, and 50% of those served by FSBH in its 16 years have achieved self-supporting lifestyles. Please browse tabs at the top of this page to learn more about FSBH…our history, successes, awards, generous sponsors, how we can help others, eligibility criteria, and how to apply. And please consider helping us support the homeless and near-homeless, with your prayers, time and talent, and financial donations.

We rely solely on individual, foundation, corporation, and church contributions. We do not receive government funding of any kind, the only support we get is from you. Please help us help others in Missouri to become self-supporting as most of us are.


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