St. Patrick’s Center opens new independent living shelter for the homeless

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – For days the St. Louis area has been experiencing freezing temperatures and many are left on the streets without shelter. For years, St. Patrick’s Center has fought for money to open a more permanent home for people who are homeless.

Now they have understood this and are opening apartments for the homeless to return to everyday life.

“I was really depressed and didn’t even think I was going to survive the year,” said Mary Holsinger.

In 2019, Holsinger unexpectedly became homeless.

“Living on the streets and not knowing who to turn to or trust anyone is tough,” Holsinger said.

After a few months, Holsinger was directed to St. Patrick’s Center where she was eventually granted transitional housing.

“It gave me hope in humanity,” Holsinger explained.

Holsinger was lucky. Many can live on the streets for years with no hope of change. However, with the help of public and private funding, the St. Patrick Center purchased and now operates its first independent living facility, McFarlane Place.

“We can actually allow someone to stay there long enough to achieve their goals,” Jonathan Belcher said.

Belcher is the Senior Director of Long-Term Programs and Transformation at St. Patrick Center. He said the North City apartment complex, which is currently being renovated, will house many veterans and people benefiting from the hospitals’ healthy housing program. They said there was no credit or identity check needed to find shelter.

“We don’t necessarily have to say ‘this person has an ID card or a social security card.’ We know who they are as a person because we provide services to them, we can actually move them around without getting those things and then provide them,” Belcher explained.

Not only does McFarlane Place provide a more permanent location and address for homeless people, it also provides an increased level of safety and security. Something Holsinger said is rare while living on the streets.

“It’s difficult when you’re a woman and you’re on the streets or in a shelter because being a woman you’re more vulnerable. You know when you leave, when you come back, your bed will be there,” Holsinger said.

A comfort that many take for granted, but that should not be forgotten.

St. Patrick’s Center is hosting a grand opening for McFarlane Place Wednesday at 10 a.m.

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