PPCS is Thinking Big

Big changes are on the horizon for homeless services in St. Louis.

Two collaborative movements have gained momentum and are effectively coming together this fall. PPCS staff and volunteers have been enmeshed in both projects playing key roles in re-envisioning how we solve homelessness regionwide.

First, PPCS’ Sons and Daughters of Soulard co-founders Jay Shields and Peter Miller began the Think BIG Unhoused Initiative to pursue regional

Welcome party on June 1 at the home of Jay and Maria Shields. Pictured are Elizabeth George of St. Louis Community Foundation, Laurie Phillips of House Everyone STL, Mandy Chapman Semple, Peter Miller of The Meadows Foundation, Bill Siedhoff of the William F. Siedhoff Foundation, Margaret Welch of MGW Communications, and Jay Shields.

systems change as the best path to end homelessness and increase affordable housing. In June, the initiative announced that it had succeeded in its primary goal of fundraising enough to hire Clutch Consulting to come to St. Louis. This organization and its leader Mandy Chapman Semple are recognized nationally for transforming homeless services in both Houston and Dallas, Texas.

“I’m not an expert in this area,” said Shields. “But I care about this issue, and I like connecting people. We’ve worked to bring together leaders from five key communities: service providers, government, the faith community, the business world, and foundations/funders. Mandy will be here to help us put the puzzle pieces together.”

My team is excited to come to St. Louis. We don’t operate like typical consultants who hold focus groups, issue recommendations, and leave. We work with the local community to identify the most attainable and promising systems improvements and then stand side-by-side to work on implementation.

While PPCS worked with this Think BIG Unhoused Initiative, our new CEO, Anthony D’Agostino, was elected Chair of the St. Louis City Continuum of Care (CoC) Board of Directors and began leading several partnerships and changes. The CoC are stakeholders who oversee the current system to end homelessness.

For the first time in its history, the CoC began a partnership with a newly-formed independent nonprofit organization called House Everyone STL (HESTL). Their mission is to increase funding and create a more united, effective homeless services system which includes prevention. HESTL has already made strides toward a more impactful housing and homelessness services system. PPCS and Clutch Consulting will work closely with the CoC and HESTL in the future.

Finally, Adam Pearson – PPCS’ former COO – recently assumed the role of Director at the Department of Human Services (DHS) which oversees the city’s homeless services division. Adam’s expertise and experience at PPCS is helping build bridges among various groups – the city, the CoC, and business leaders.

If we get this right our city will make tremendous strides toward eliminating unsheltered homelessness in the next few years.

As always, PPCS will be a leader in this effort.