ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR)- The first arctic blast of the season has the city of St. Louis stepping up with a new program to help those in need of shelter. It`s focused at the Biddle Housing Opportunities Center on Tucker just north of downtown St. Louis.
The facility is acting as a key component in the city of St Louis` plan to get the homeless into shelters during the frigid winter weather. Close to 70 people showed up at the facility Wednesday night. Some stayed while others went to different shelters.
The new approach to helping the homeless in the city was basically put into action when the city launched its winter operations plan last night for the first time this season.
Under the new set up, the homeless either come to the Biddle House on their own or are brought here by police or various outreach groups.
Biddle House basically acts as staging area. From there, the homeless are either taken to other shelters in the area or stay at the Biddle location.
Biddle House is a male only shelter. About 100 people are normally there; an extra 52 men stayed there last night.
15 women who wound up there were taken to different shelters.
The city owns this building but the St Patrick Center along with Peter and Paul Community Services operate it.
Leaders there hope to not only get people off the streets during the cold weather but also to move them into programs that ultimately will get them out of homelessness.
The city`s winter operations plan will remain in effect through Friday evening. That means there will continue to be increased outreach and additional shelter bed space to accommodate homeless men, women and children through this first arctic blast of winter temperatures.