For two-and-a-half hours Monday morning, 11 members of the SLU LAW community prepared and served breakfast to the homeless at The Bridge Outreach. The Bridge provides sanctuary for homeless and at-risk persons in St. Louis and is located just a few blocks from Scott Hall. On Thursday, there was a screening of the new documentary "Storied Streets", which features compelling profiles of the homeless and the formerly homeless and their struggle to survive.
Throughout the week, a food drive was held to stock the The Bridges’ shelves with some of the items that are most needed. Thanks to the SLU LAW community’s generosity, The Bridge received the following collection (in addition to some cash donations):
- More than 30 pounds of ground beef and 2 pounds of sausage
- 12 dozen eggs
- 294 can goods
- 16 bags of beans
- 50 jars of seasoning
- 21 bottles of cooking oil
- 676.8 ounces of ground coffee
- 52 other items (creamer, oatmeal, cereal, etc.)
Below are some startling facts about homelessness, courtesy of storiedstreets.com.
As many as 3.5 million people will experience homelessness this year
1.5 million of the homeless will be children and as many as 60,00 will be under the age of 5.
35% of those who are homeless are employed
Top five causes of homelessness are:
1. Lack of affordable housing
2. Lack of a livable wage
3. Medical issues/conditions
4. Domestic violence
5. Mental illness
60,000 veterans will experience homelessness this year
Homelessness was the only group submitted under the Hate Crime Act that was not admitted – yet there has been nearly triple the number of homeless-related hate crime deaths than there has been for all currently protected classes combined.
Only 5 states in the US have classified the violence against the homeless as a hate crime.
There are over 170 laws on the books of cites across the country that target the homeless.
Progress is being made. With some states increasing minimum wage and states like Utah proactively adopting the Housing First model, homelessness has begun to finally see a decrease.
It costs on average more than 3 times the amount of money to incarcerate someone as it does to house them.
4% of the homeless population is unsheltered
There are 4 times as many animal shelters in the US as there are homeless shelters.
Federal cuts to food stamps threaten 3.8 million people
Federal funding for public housing has continued to decrease and between 209 and 2012 decreased by 25%.