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Adding to the problem

Theoretically, a new homeless shelter that opened across town in Hazelwood last fall should have made things better for Frog Level’s homeless plight.

Instead, it apparently made matters worse.

The Pathways Center homeless shelter was shuttling van loads of homeless people from the shelter to Frog Level every morning and then fetching them come evening to go back to the shelter.

The Hazelwood homeless shelter is closed during the day, so anyone staying there is shooed out the door at 8:30 a.m. and not let back in until 5 p.m. But the shelter’s on the edge of a residential neighborhood, and pushing them out the door into nearby neighborhood streets with nowhere to go didn’t seem right.

So instead, they were bussed to Frog Level, but it only exacerbated the number of homeless people who already loitered around the Open Door soup kitchen all day. 

Pathways Center tries to get those staying at the shelter to spend their days productively: going to counseling, applying for jobs, volunteering somewhere, taking career skills workshops or attending life classes.

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But since Pathways provides none of these services in-house right now, people staying at the shelter are given a bag lunch and directed to other agencies around town that offer these services.

Getting them to and fro is a kink that’s yet to be fully worked out, however.

The wholesale bussing from the shelter to Frog Level ended a few weeks ago. Now, instead of bussing them to Frog Level, a morning shuttle takes many of them to Meridian counseling center — which is only marginally better.

Meridian is just a five-minute walk from Frog Level, and many of them soon migrate from Meridian to Frog Level where they wait for lunch at the Open Door.

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