Man Calls for Help for Homeless Family, Upset with City’s Response

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Greg Barren with Foam Material and Equipment on Talcott in North St. Louis says he’s still upset with how long it took the City of St. Louis to respond to his 911 report a couple in their 20’s with an infant living out of their car.

The vehicle broke down near his office after the couple drove from Illinois trying to find work. He says he called St. Patrick Center and was told to call 911. Then he waited for two hours for police to show up.

“I understand city has crime issue, had this had been a crime maybe they would have responded quicker but the crime is there is a 10-month-old involved, that’s the crime,” Barren says.

The couple sold the car and moved into a motel. Barren says he tried to find shelter for them but every one he called was full, something he blames on the city shutting down Larry Rice’s shelter without a backup plan. The United Way of Greater St. Louis says Barren could have called 211, a 24-hour helpline.

“We exist to connect people to the resources they need every single day, so that even in this woman’s case, we want to make that people know where to get connected, how to get connected, and know that there are agencies and supports out there for them, but we exist to make sure that they get connected easily and in a seamless fashion,” says Regina Green, VP of Community Response, which runs the helpline.

211 has been around for ten years and has received over a million calls in that time. Most calls are for help with utilities, rent and food.

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