St. Patrick Center Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding Biddle Housing Opportunities Center (BHOC).

What is Biddle Housing Opportunities Center?

Biddle Housing Opportunities Center begins a new era in homeless services in St. Louis. It is a new initiative on North Tucker just north of downtown St. Louis, the most necessary next step to ending chronic homelessness in the region, which has always been St. Patrick Center's ambition. The center is a comprehensive pathway to housing options and support services for people who are homeless or at risk.

Who is running Biddle Housing Opportunities Center?

St. Patrick Center, providing housing, employment and health programs since 1983, oversees needs assessments, connections to resources, referrals, meals and housing placements for up to 125 men, women and children. Peter &Paul Community Services, providing housing and support services since 1981, oversees onsite client support, program management, and direct the emergency overnight shelter for up to 98 men. Both agencies also work collaboratively with other COC agencies, referring people for housing placements and related services.

Why are we doing this?

To end homelessness in the St. Louis region. We know that addressing homelessness has taken St. Louis down a long, often frustrating road. We all have obligations to each other as a community. Those struggling with homelessness are fellow citizens who, for a variety of reasons, are living on the fringes of society. Through the Biddle Housing Opportunities Center, we can empower them to master their circumstances. The center will allow us to implement Housing First with coordinated intake and assessment, housing options and support services as well as provide additional needed emergency shelter. The center is the most efficient way to create an environment where people who are homeless or at risk can most easily access housing and other support options with no barriers.

How is what you're doing at Biddle Housing Opportunities Center different than what you've been doing at your agencies since the 1980s?

Biddle Housing Opportunities Center will give us greater capacity and coordination among service providers. It will also give us the opportunity to use a new assessment tool, called a Vulnerability Index-Service Prioritization Decision Assessment Tool (VI-SPDAT), on a broader scale. This, in turn, makes us better able to match needs and resources.

What is the St. Louis City CoC?

The St. Louis City Continuum of Care (CoC) is a collaborative network of nonprofit organizations, government and other organizations providing agency-specific services to end homelessness in the St. Louis region.

What is the vision of the St. Louis City CoC?

The CoC will accomplish its mission by utilizing the Coordinated Entry and assessment system to determine the most efficient and effective services for people who are homeless or at risk, ensuring that people with the most need are prioritized. CoC members will advocate for this population, both at the community and government level, with transparency and accountability.

What is Housing First?

Housing First is a homeless assistance approach that prioritizes housing for people experiencing homelessness, while also providing voluntary supportive services as needed. Housing First reduces barriers. It gives people the safety and security of a home first. There are no barriers to access housing. With that basic need met, homelessness ends. Goals are set and achieved, which helps prevent a return to homelessness.

Why Housing First?

Put simply: it works. Studies have shown that those communities who implement Housing First strategies have successfully helped people achieve self-sufficiency and stay housed.

What is Coordinated Entry?

Coordinated Entry is a new, consistent process, shared among all service providers, to determine the most appropriate response to an individual or family's immediate and long-term housing needs.

Why Coordinated Entry?

The goal of Coordinated Entry is to improve the delivery of housing and shelter services for single adults, families and youth in the community who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Specifically, we will work to accomplish the following: rapidly exit people from homelessness to stable housing;ensure that the hardest-to-serve population, with the greatest need, is served first;serve clients as efficiently and effectively as possible;ensure transparency and accountability throughout the process.

What is VI-SPDAT?

VI-SPDAT stands for Vulnerability Index-Service Prioritization Decision Assessment Tool, an established survey tool to determine the most appropriate program or service for each client. All individuals and families who are homeless or at risk will be assessed using the new VI-SPDAT.

Why VI-SPDAT?

The VI-SPDAT is rooted in academic research into the social causes of homelessness and backed by years of testing in numerous communities. It's brief, simple and user friendly, allowing intake specialists to assess people's needs quickly.

How much does all of this cost?

  • Homelessness prevention costs an average of $600 per person (one-time expense). In the St. Louis region, this is about 25% of the homeless population.
  • Rapid rehousing, support services and case management cost an average of $7,000 per person per year (one-time expense). In the St. Louis region, this is about 55% of the homeless population.    
  • Permanent supportive housing, support services and case management cost an average of $10,000 per person per year (ongoing expense). In the St. Louis region, this is about 20% of the homeless population.
  • In contrast, it costs an average of $12,775 per person to live in a shelter per year ($35 per day;$1,050 per month).

Who should I contact for help? 

View a list of resources for individuals who are experiencing homelessness in the City of St. Louis. Resources include shelters, meals and other services related to health, employment, domestic violence, housing, and more. 

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