Helping St. Louis

A Blog About Helping Each Other

Posts Tagged ‘Social Services’

What’s up with mocking the homeless?

Posted by Schevus on March 25, 2009

I normally do not like to draw attention to bad posts, but this post pushed me over the edge on this topic. I realize this post is intentionally overblown and inflammatory, but I have seen several serious posts along this line recently. When did it become popular to publicly disparage and spout hatred against the homeless?

The big issue lately concerns homeless people having cell phones. Apparently some people view this as the most egregious offense a homeless person can commit. Let us evaluate some realities:

  • Homeless people do not have a home! Therefore, they cannot have a land-line phone. If they have a job, it is often important for them to have a way to be reached and since they cannot have a land-line, a cell phone is the other alternative. If they are seeking a job, it is also critical for potential employers to be able to contact them. This can be done through shelters and other social service agencies, but often employers are wise to this and may be prejudiced not to select a homeless person for a position.
  • Being homeless is dangerous! Violent crime rates are extremely high amongst the homeless population. In addition to this, the health of homeless people is generally poorer than normal. Thus it is important to be able to summon help in the case of a medical or other emergency. Having a cell phone also enables homeless people to stay in touch with social services, making their transition off of the streets easier.
  • Some families will provide a cell phone to a homeless family member in order to be able to stay in contact with them.

As you can see there are very real, practical reasons for a homeless person to have a phone.

I also find the derogatory and stereotypical attacks on homeless people in that post to be absolutely disgusting. This is one of the most vulnerable groups of the population, and includes a large (and growing) number of families and children, not just “hobos, winos and bums.” The homeless need and deserve our help, not disdain, stereotypes, and insults.

Posted in Homeless | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Missouri 2-1-1

Posted by Schevus on December 17, 2008

I have discovered an impressive service offered by the St. Louis Area United Way called Missouri 2-1-1. Basically, anyone in most MO counties can dial 211 on a land line phone and will be connected with a United Way representative 24 / 7. If calling from a cell phone the number is 800-427-4626.

Through this service individuals can receive assistance in several areas. This is the list of services outlined on the website:

Basic Human Needs

  • Food pantries
  • Shelters
  • Rent
  • Utility assistance

Physical and Mental Health Resources

  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Pre-natal care
  • Crisis intervention
  • Support groups
  • Counseling
  • Alcohol and drug rehabilitation

Work Initiatives

  • Educational and vocational training programs
  • English as a second language classes
  • Job training
  • General Educational Development (GED) preparation
  • Financial and transportation assistance

Support for Seniors and those with Disabilities

  • Agencies on aging
  • Centers for independent living
  • Adult day care
  • Meals at home
  • Respite care
  • Home health care
  • Transportation and recreation

Support for Children Youth and Families

  • After-school programs
  • Tutoring
  • Mentorship programs
  • Family resource centers
  • Protective services
  • Counseling
  • Early childhood learning programs
  • Child care referral centers
  • Recreation

Volunteering

  • Volunteer centers
  • Mentorship opportunities
  • Locations to donate food
  • Clothing, furniture, computers and other items
  • One-time, long-term, permanent, part-time or group volunteering opportunities

Needless to say, this is a pretty comprehensive list. I have not tried this service personally, but it does appear to be pretty commendable. Does anyone have experience with this?

UPDATE:

I found this article about 2-1-1 from the St. Louis Post Dispatch. I was also contacted by a United Way representative who will be forwarding me relevant charitable information! =)

Posted in St. Louis Charities | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »