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Federal Grant Enhances Services for People Who are Homeless

Places for People recently received a five-year federal grant to provide treatment to people who are homeless and also strengthen the available evidence-based practices for providers in the St. Louis region.

The nearly $2.5 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will help Places for People reach and enroll 428 individuals who are homeless in St. Louis City and County in the next five years, and engage them in services through the “3-2-1 Project.”

The project’s name originates with the project’s primary initiatives:


The project will initiate 3 major activities: outreach people who are homeless; provide an array of evidence-based practices; and establish a Center of Excellence to improve service practices


The project will serve 2 subgroups: adults who are homeless adults living with severe mental illness or co-occurring disorders and youths living with severe emotional disturbances and their families


The project has 1 mission: to end homelessness and improve health and recovery.

The grant will allow Places for People to hire five new employees, including two outreach specialists to perform assertive outreach in shelters and in the community to engage people who are homeless, with the goal of enrolling them into case management at Places for People.

In addition to approaching homelessness in the community, the grant will allow Places for People to make a systemic impact by funding a “housing navigator” position at Gateway Housing First. This position will look at housing needs in the St. Louis region and develop a plan to increase the availability of affordable housing.

The development of Places for People’s Center of Excellence will provide training on best practices for services for Places for People employees and staff members of other providers in our region.

These measure support the project’s five goals:

  • Improving access and utilization of behavioral health, support, and housing services and resources for people who are homeless living with severe mental illness or co-occurring disorders
  • Increase the availability, array, and provision of integrated behavioral health, recovery support, and housing services for the population of focus.
  • Improve client functioning and outcomes in key areas of need.
  • Increasing the infrastructure capacity of the service system to more effectively serve and house people who are homeless, especially those with SMI or COD and homeless youths and families.
  • Establishing a Center of Excellence for serving people who are homeless and conducting a series of training and technical assistance activities to improve the knowledge and skills of area providers, and to conduct needs assessment and planning to improve permanent housing options.

This is the second grant Places for People has been awarded by SAMHSA in 2018. Places for People recently received a two-year, $3.8 million grant to expand access to behavioral health services for people who are uninsured and underinsured in the St. Louis region.