Irish govt. minister experiences homeless outreach via St. Patrick Center

Irish government minister Paudie Coffey, right center, talked with staff and clients at St. Patrick Center March 13 to learn about the Catholic Charities agency’s outreach to homeless men and women. Coffey is the minister of state for housing, planning.

It's an annual St. Patrick's Day tradition for Irish government ministers to travel abroad and promote their homeland. Meetings with political officials, plus some time to enjoy local St. Patrick's Day celebrations, are generally part of the docket.

County counts homeless, helps bring them in from the cold

Angela Hamilton, a client coordinator for Room at the Inn, interviewed Tony and LaMonda at the Hanley Road MetroLink station. With the help of the volunteers, Tony and LaMonda, who have eight children and have been homeless for five years, found shelter. Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org

LaMonda and Tony have stayed in a car, in laundromats, in a house that has no electricity, with relatives and hotels when they could get money from begging. They slept in a closet area and a cold basement storage area with rats running around them.

"We were scared, really scared, and I couldn't even sleep," Tony said.

With all the challenges they face, they remain dedicated to each other, able to smile and laugh.

Peter and Paul Community Services debuts safe haven for chronically homeless

Longtime friends Curesa Atkins, left, and Audrey Brown now live across the hallway from each other at Garfield Place Apartments, Peter and Paul Community Services’ new safe haven for chronically homeless individuals in the Benton Park West neighborhood of St. Louis.

This year, Curesa Atkins is going to have one of the best Christmases she's experienced in a long time.

In October, Atkins moved into Garfield Place Apartments, Peter and Paul Community Services' safe haven for chronically homeless individuals, that opened this fall. In the past few weeks, she's been busy decorating her place for Christmas. In the corner, a tree is adorned with silver and red tinsel, and a few gifts are underneath the tree, waiting for their recipients. Her table is set with gleaming holiday china and matching placemats.

TWENTY SOMETHING | Come in from the cold: finding mercy in the city

Christina Capecchi

It's 15 below with a wind chill of minus 39 when I arrive at the cathedral. The holy water is partly frozen.

Perched atop Summit Hill in St. Paul, Minn., the Cathedral of St. Paul is the mother church of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, a Vatican-appointed National Shrine of the Apostle Paul and a towering presence in the capital city.

And on this night, the first Monday of January, it is a refuge for 18 homeless people who will sleep on cots in the basement choir room.

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