ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – They held a ceremonial “knocking down of the walls” Thursday morning in north St. Louis.
The occasion: the announcement that a 102-year-old former school for blind girls at 5235 Page Boulevard is being transformed into “Missouri’s first affordable housing development funded by the state’s housing commission specifically targeted to alleviate homelessness amongst individuals living with severe and persistent mental illness”.
“We’re knocking down the wall of ‘NIMBY’-Not In My Backyard,” declared Francie Broderick, executive director of Places for People. “The (local) neighborhood association has welcomed us. There was never any question as to whether this would be a good project for this neighborhood.”
[photogallerylink id=40533 align=left]The $5.7 million, historic renovation will provide 23 secure residential apartments equipped with on-site staff and outdoor space for community use.
Once complete the project will have provided 71 part-time and 8 full-time positions.
“Places at Page represents the critical need for housing people with a mental illness and shows how state resources are being successfully allocated to address this issue,” said Broderick.
It’s estimated that each night in Missouri, more than 6,000 people are homeless, and while 4% of the U.S. population has a serious mental illness, among the chronically homeless that percentage conservatively ranges between 50 and 75%.
Places at Page is expected to open its doors for residents by Summer, 2011.
(Copyright KMOX Radio)