For days now, the St. Louis region has seen freezing temperatures and many are left out on the streets without shelter. For years, the St. Patrick Center has been vying for money to open a more permanent home for the unhoused.
Now, they’ve got it and are opening apartments for the homeless to transition back to everyday life.
“I was really down and didn’t even think I was going to survive the year,” Mary Holsinger said.
In 2019, Holsinger unexpectedly became homeless.
“Living on the street and not knowing who to turn to or trust anyone, it’s hard,” Holsinger said.
After a few months, Holsinger was pointed to the St. Patrick Center where she eventually got into transitional housing.
“It restored my hope in mankind actually,” Holsinger explained.
Holsinger got lucky. Many can live on the streets for years without hope of change. However, with the help of state and private funding, St. Patrick Center bought and is now operating its first independent living facility, McFarlane Place.
“We can actually allow someone to stay there long enough to get their goals in place,” Jonathan Belcher said.
Belcher’s the senior director of programs and long-term transformation at the St. Patrick Center. He said the North City apartment complex, which is currently undergoing renovations, will welcome many including veterans and hospital healthy housing program individuals. They said there is no credit check or I.D. needed to get shelter.
“We don’t necessarily have to like say ‘that person has a state I.D. or social security card.’ We know who they are as a person because we’ve been providing service for them. We can actually move them in without getting those things and then get those things provided to them,” Belcher explained.
Not only does the McFarlane Place offer a more permanent location and address for the unhoused, but it also provides an enhanced level of safety and security. Something Holsinger said is rare while living on the streets.
“It is difficult when you’re a female and you’re on the streets or in the shelter because being a female, you’re more vulnerable. You know that when you leave out, when you come back, your bed is going to be there,” Holsinger said.
A comfort that many take for granted, but something that shouldn’t be forgotten.
The St. Patrick Center is having a grand opening for McFarlane Place Wednesday at 10 a.m.