Councilman Mike Klinghammer's Blog

Feb 22

[ARCHIVED] Helping Those in Need

The original item was published from February 22, 2019 2:18 PM to February 22, 2019 2:26 PM

St. Charles County may be the wealthiest in Missouri, but this doesn’t mean our citizens are immune to life’s difficulties. Fortunately, the “neighbors helping neighbors” mentality is a way of life here, and there are amazing local nonprofits and social service agencies that provide tremendous support. Did you know your County Government helps, too? Through fee revenue and securing federal grants, the County works to help citizens in need every day.

Here’s how:

  • The County’s Community Assistance Board (CAB) administers the distribution of funds to agencies that serve area homeless and indigent citizens. Recorder fees and the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provide the majority of funding. Additionally, the State of Missouri requires counties to contribute funding to help indigent citizens, and residents are able to contribute by donating $1, $5 or $10 on their tax bills to Project CARE, which provides additional funding for agencies. Through these resources, CAB allocated nearly $300,000 this year to local organizations such as Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service and Compass Health Network to help citizens get back on their feet. Last year’s figures are still being assembled, but organizations that received homeless funds in 2017 served 2,015 citizens and those that received indigent funds provided services for 1,482 citizens in our community thanks to this support.

    Most of the funded organizations also participate in the St. Charles, Lincoln, and Warren County Continuum of Care, also called the Tri-County Continuum of Care. The Community Council of St. Charles County is the lead agency for the Continuum, which is a coalition that addresses homelessness in the area. Last year, the Continuum established a Coordinated Entry case management center to help people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, access services through a single point-of-entry by calling United Way 211. The goal of Coordinated Entry is to help participating organizations become more efficient and effective. In the first year alone, 3,312 people were assessed for services. The Continuum also launched a warming center response to help citizens in need find safe accommodations in cold weather. If it is predicted to be 20 degrees or lower overnight, the warming center hotline (636-395-0492) is activated and callers are given warming center locations and transportation assistance. From 2016 to early 2018, the response helped more than 100 people.

  • The County secures federal funding for housing and other related assistance programs. CDBG funds provide loan and housing assistance county-wide to prevent homelessness, including emergency home repair, home improvement, property maintenance loans, and transportation assistance. Additionally, the HOME St. Charles program through HUD provides down payment assistance for qualified residents. The City of St. Charles administers the CDBG and HUD funds on behalf of the County. Last year, 322 residents received support through these programs. More information is available on the County’s Loan and Housing Assistance webpage.

    The County also secures funds through HUD for Section 8 housing, which is administered in our area by the Northeast Community Action Corporation (NECAC). This rental assistance program helps approximately 650 very low-income families, the elderly, and people with disabilities annually in our community afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing. 

  • Marriage license fees provide funding allocated by the County’s Domestic Violence Board to help organizations provide shelter for abuse and sex trafficking victims. This year, $55,000 was allocated to help keep victims safe. Organizations that received funding in 2018 assisted 384 individuals.

This support of our nonprofit and social service community helps these organizations build capacity and prevents citizens in need from escalating into more serious and dangerous situations that require more government resources. But more importantly, providing this support makes St. Charles County an even better place to live. It is the RIGHT thing for your County Government to do.