Death Prevention is Goal for Winter Warming Centers
From Mid -November through Mid-March each year, if temperatures are predicted to be 20 degrees or below overnight, the Emergency Weather Response (EWR) Program of the St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren Counties Continuum of Care will activate Free Warming Centers in selected churches to provide safe sleeping accommodations for our unhoused neighbors and their pets.
The primary purpose of the EWR Program is death prevention. 2022 will be the 8th year for this essential program in our three county region. To date there have been no deaths in our area due to hypothermia. First responders often guide the homeless to locations that are open on bitter cold nights. A total of 11 sites will share in the provision of this service this year.
To locate the nearest warming center, call the hotline number at 636-395-0492 after 3 pm for the most current information. Transportation services may be available.
Trained volunteers at each warming center site will be on hand to greet, check in, oversee the evening activities, provide food, prepare laundry, clean up and load a van where supplies are transported from one church to another during the winter season.
Please keep the hotline number handy, and pass it out to any homeless person you encounter during the cold winter season. If you or your church would like more information about how you can become involved, please call LINC Director Kathy Thompson or Warming Center Coordinator Tiffany Jackson at 636-332-5127 x 222 or 314-295-6177 (cell).
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.
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.