Future Emergency Shelter…What’s the Scoop?

With your support, we hope to replace our current Soulard Shelter with a new, best-in-class, 24-hour emergency shelter for homeless men that can make a lasting positive impact for all of us. We are currently looking for its new location.

This new facility will:

  • Allow those who are homeless to get off the streets and out of abandoned buildings and into a secure, professionally staffed shelter
  • Provide 24/7 care and counseling in the St. Louis region’s most advanced shelter of its kind
  • Employ case workers to spend time helping our guests take their next steps—usually a steady job and/or a path to sustainable, permanent housing

We are hoping to join a community—and improve and strengthen it. We plan to be good neighbors and give back. This page was created to offer transparency about our organization and our plans.

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Questions & Answers

  • Why Peter & Paul?

    Peter & Paul has successfully created and operated shelters and supportive housing sites for our disadvantaged neighbors for more than 40 years. Yusef Scoggin, former Director of Human Services for the City of St. Louis, recently called us the “crown jewel” of homeless services for the region (May 2022, Sons & Daughters of Soulard keynote address). As a nonprofit, we are completely focused on serving those in St. Louis who are homeless or at serious risk of homelessness.

  • Do you manage other emergency shelters in St. Louis?

    Yes, we operate the Soulard Shelter (60 beds for men) at 711 Allen in the Soulard neighborhood. That is our oldest program and has been operating there since 1981.

  • Why now?

    Our agency’s strategic plan identified a need to expand both the services offered at our shelter and the number of beds provided. Our current facility provides overnight shelter, with limited space available for case management, life skills training, etc. Also, COVID forced us to reduce the numbers served in order to achieve the recommended social distancing. We are seeking a larger facility that will allow us the space to serve our residents safely during any future variants or pandemics, and will allow adequate space for private meetings and group training.

  • Who and how many will stay at the shelter?

    Up to 100 adult men including senior citizens and those needing respite care. During severe weather, we will provide overflow cots indoors within a safe limit. We do not serve those under age 18 or women. They are referred to shelters and transitional housing designed for those populations.

  • Why just men?

    The majority of homeless individuals are men in St. Louis. There is a nearly constant wait-time to be assigned a bed. Dividing living populations at shelters by gender and age is a best practice in delivering targeted, trauma-informed services to those who are homeless. It promotes safety and niche expertise for our staff in locating resources best suited to specific populations.

  • Will you allow people to camp on the grounds of the shelter or sleep outdoors on the grounds at any time?

    No, we will not allow that. We have never allowed that at any of our sites.

  • How do we help people we see on the streets get into the shelter?

    Tell the men to call the United Way’s 211 helpline at 8:30 a.m. daily until they are told a bed is open for that night. Let them know that once they have a bed, they can stay up to six months. Men who are homeless can also download and use the free GetHelp app on a smartphone to reserve a bed.

  • How will you keep the neighborhood safe from the men you are serving in our neighborhood?
    First of all, please know that our men are much more likely to be victims of crime than to perpetrate one. We have years of experience in creating as much safety as possible for everyone in the area of our shelter. For instance, this shelter will not be a drop-in center, nor a walk-up shelter. From past experience, we know those models of service can create safety challenges. Our way of operating through telephone referrals decreases loitering, littering, and crimes of opportunity in the immediate vicinity.

    Our shelter guests want to be able to stay with us. They have made an effort to seek us out. As a matter of policy, guests of our shelters sign a “good neighbor contract” as part of being admitted into the shelter. They agree to respecting the neighborhood. This means no loitering, panhandling, littering, or any criminal activity. Breaking the contract is grounds for removal from our program.

  • How will PPCS prioritize serving unhoused men already living in the immediate surrounding area?

    People who are unhoused often move from neighborhood to neighborhood. Community Outreach workers are currently being hired by the City of St. Louis to help place unhoused people in the city into the nearest shelter that meets their needs. In addition to this, PPCS is committed to working with the city and neighbors to prioritize beds for unhoused men located in the shelter neighborhood willing to enter a shelter program.

  • What rules are residents expected to follow and what happens when they break them?

    Our shelter guests want to be able to stay with us. They have made an effort to seek us out. As a matter of policy, guests of our shelters sign a “good neighbor contract” as part of being admitted into the shelter. They agree to respecting the neighborhood. This means no loitering, panhandling, littering, or any criminal activity. They also must abide by the policies and procedures of our Shelter Handbook, a much more lengthy document (more than 20 pages) detailing expectations for behavior inside the shelter. Breaking the rules of the Good Neighbor Policy or the handbook can be grounds for removal from the shelter.

  • What responsibility will PPCS take for people turned away from our shelter for breaking rules or for lack of capacity?

    For those being dismissed for unacceptable behavior due to intoxication/being under the influence, we contact a nearby clinic with a built-in sobriety center who can pick them up and house them until they are sober. For those being dismissed or turned away for other reasons (or if the sobriety center is full) we can provide bus passes.

  • Will the shelter house sex offenders and ex-convicts?

    Yes, we sometimes serve these men. It is part of our mission to help the most isolated and marginalized among us. Please know that we are monitoring the behavior of our guests and holding them to high standards. Sex offenders live in the immediate area and throughout St. Louis with no supervision at their residence. Our shelter is monitored 24 hours a day.

  • Will shelter guests be allowed to wander the neighborhood during the day?

    Without a good reason for the leaving the shelter, men would be expected to be on site with us working on goals, using our programs, or resting/recovering from injury or illness. We will have a schedule for men coming and going for employment, medical appointments, etc.

  • What programs and activities will be provided for the men during the day?

    Men will be able to get cleaned up, eat three meals a day, work with a case manager on next steps, attend AA/NA meetings, and be off the streets while they walk their path to sustainable, permanent housing. We will be staffed by professionals 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Clients set their own goals to improve their situation. Programs provided typically include job training/readiness sessions, support with apartment/housing search, creative expression groups, healthy leisure time groups, etc.

  • How does a nearby emergency shelter impact property values of neighbors?

    The community around our 41-year-old Soulard Shelter has seen their property values drastically increase in the decades our shelter has been there, including the properties immediately surrounding the shelter. No one can 100 percent predict what will happen to property values in and around the future shelter site. Crime rates, vacant/nuisance properties, and the state of the school district are major contributing factors.

  • What’s your track record with managing emergency shelters like this and keeping neighbors happy?

    Peter & Paul Community Services takes pride in being a good neighbor. We have a 41-year history of quietly maintaining a shelter space for 60 men in Soulard. We operate in the basement of Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church. We will be active in your neighborhood and responsive to your communications. Ex: In Soulard, we listened to neighbors and then worked with the residents of the shelter and the local business community to form a Clean Team which regularly removed litter and helped with beautification of the area around our shelter. We also helped clean up after annual festivals and events such as Soulard Mardi Gras. We also responded to neighborhood requests with a public hot meals program.

  • What type of facility will this be?

    Our goal is to create a model emergency shelter not just for the region, but the nation. We are looking at air quality, pandemic readiness, respite care, pet friendly arrangements, and other factors to make this program as effective as it can be. As a baseline, all of our facilities are kept clean and orderly. Guests will have a bed, locking storage, an outlet, access to showers and laundry machines as well as other needed miscellaneous hygiene items. We meet people where they are to get them to a healthy, sustainable life where they are no longer alone.

  • Where do men at the shelter find employment? Where do they work? How do they find work?

    At least half of our residents already have jobs when they seek shelter. Like other community members, they work all over the region. The difference is most of the men do not have personal vehicles, so they must have jobs near public transportation. While some work within the neighborhood of the shelter, the vast majority work in other neighborhoods. We help our men get training and find jobs through community partners such as SLATE and Employment Connection. Employers who we partner with regularly and directly to employ our men include Bridge Bread, Jimmy John’s, Dollar Tree, and Amazon. We help with applications, résumés, and interview skills on site.

  • Would residents around the shelter be able to contact shelter staff 24/7 if there are concerns or issues?

    We have two phone numbers that are answered 24-7. One is the office phone at the shelter, the other is our main phone line at our agency headquarters. Both phones are answered 24/7 and have voicemail. We try to return all calls within one business day if not sooner in the order received. If there is an immediate perceived danger in the neighborhood, please call 911.

  • Will you be tracking residents when they leave your property?

    No one is physically tracked when coming or going. Residents are not prisoners. These are adults who are choosing to improve their lives. We will provide on-site, day-time programming and leisure activities. Residents who come and go from our shelter are generally leaving to work jobs and attend appointments such as doctor visits, work interviews, family visits, etc.

  • Do you accept LGBTQ residents?

    We accept anyone who identifies as male into our shelters. This has been our practice since the 1980s.

  • Will there be volunteers allowed in the shelter?

    Yes, we have a robust history of volunteers supporting our residents by providing and serving hot, delicious meals. Volunteers have regularly visited with our residents by hosting chess nights, bingo tournaments, board game nights, and much more. We also have a tradition of volunteers performing musical productions for special occasions. Volunteers also hold collections to help meet the physical needs of our residents.

  • What type of mental health services will be offered at the shelter?

    Our staff directly provides self-care groups, trauma processing groups, and they facilitate conversations about managing mental health conditions.

    Talk therapy, diagnoses, and prescribing medications are handled by one of our community mental health partners. These are BJC Behavior Health, Places for People, Independence Center, Hopewell Center, and Behavioral Health Network. Affinia Healthcare—our main primary medical care provider—also provides these services. Partners deliver services at our shelter or we arrange transportation at no cost to the resident.

Still Have Question(s)?

Contact Deb Cottin at dcottin@ppcsinc.org or 314-221-6197