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'Tiny' house village for St. Louis homeless coming to Downtown West, mayor announces

November 18, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

St. Louis officials are planning 50 homes that will begin housing the city's homeless by next month, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said Tuesday.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson takes a look inside a demonstration tiny house the city had on display for a press conference at City Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020.

LOUIS — A collection of 50 “tiny” homes will begin sheltering some of St. Louis’ homeless population as soon as next month, Mayor Lyda Krewson announced Tuesday. The city plans a 29-month lease of property for the new community at 900 N.

“So this is assistance to prevent COVID transmission. ”Krewson’s chief of staff, Steve Conway, said the city is also concerned that there may be an increase in the homeless population caused by the economic fallout from the pandemic. The city has a freeze on evictions through Dec. 31 and has already dedicated $7. 4 million of CARES money for rental and mortgage assistance, but in the coming months people still may lose housing, Conway said. With the tiny homes included, the city has created 385 new beds to house the homeless population since the start of the pandemic, Conway said.

The mayor said the encampment was a risk for the spread of the virus and other health issues, and offered to move people living there into the city’s temporary shelter beds when the site was shut down in May. The move was opposed by some advocates for the homeless population in the city. The small homes on North Jefferson will be across the street from the St. Louis Police Department Central Patrol building and about a mile from two of the city’s other major resources for the homeless, the city-owned Biddle House men’s shelter and the homeless services agency known as the St. Patrick Center. Krewson said the site was chosen in part because it already had showers, laundry facilities and bathrooms in place from the RV park. The park stood out among its urban surroundings from the time it opened in the 1980s.

The board approves all federal relief funding allocations. If approved, Krewson’s office expects the first residents will be able to move into the homes by Dec. 1. The project marks the second tiny house concept for homeless people in St. Louis, and the first fully funded by the city. The first project, announced last month, will provide 50 homes to veterans in north St. Louis’ Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood at North Grand and Aldine Avenue. That effort, funded largely by the Kansas City nonprofit Veterans Community Project, is intended be built primarily on 31 parcels of land purchased from the city’s Land Reutilization Authority, which takes ownership of abandoned property.

Those homes, the majority of them totaling about 240 square feet, are modeled after a similar project started in Kansas City in 2018 by the same nonprofit, which has gotten national attention for its approach. Other cities have embraced the idea of small homes as a way to give shelter to homeless people, including Seattle; Detroit; Nashville, Tennessee; and Austin, Texas. Another significant project was announced Tuesday to benefit the homeless in St. Louis. The nonprofit Doorways, an interfaith agency providing housing and support to people at risk of homelessness due to HIV and poverty, will break ground on a $22 million development Wednesday. The development will be located at 1101 N.

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