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Latest News 4.9.20
STATE OF THE COMMUNITY: AN ONGOING CRISIS
Things are changing rapidly in North St. Louis County as the COVID-19 crisis here continues to escalate each day. We want to keep you informed about the situation and Beyond Housing and our many nonprofit partners’ ongoing efforts to assist those who need help the most right now.
White House officials and other news sources are stating that black Americans are being disproportionately impacted by this virus. This reflects what we are seeing in the 24:1 Community and other parts of North St. Louis County. St. Louis County has updated their map of confirmed COVID-19 cases by zip code which shows a higher concentration of COVID-19 cases—more than 150—in municipalities throughout North St. Louis County.
Beyond these confirmed cases, low-income families and communities like those in North St. Louis County have been the hardest hit by this shutdown and are in desperate need of food and other resources.
For some personal thoughts on how low-income families in North St. Louis County are having a very different experience than the rest us right now, you can read my latest blog entry, One Virus, Two Worlds.
Latest Community News and Updates
Below is a list of updates on our emergency assistance efforts as well as other news from the community.
- We recently learned that two families we serve in the Viking Advantage Program each have a family member who has died of COVID-19.
- Two neighboring school district bus drivers recently passed away—one driver as a result of COVID-19 and another who died while showing symptoms. Due to the increased risk, the school district’s food distributions have temporarily been cancelled. We are working with the Normandy Schools Collaborative on a plan B should something similar happen with our current distribution of food by school buses throughout the community.
- To make sure that residents in the 24:1 Community are aware of available help and resources, the community website, our24.1com, is now being used as a central hub for all COVID-19 related news. We are using outdoor signage, social media and influencers, newspaper ads, and emails to make sure the more than 40,000 residents are aware of this information hub.
- Beyond Housing, the Community Impact Network, and partners will be hosting another food distribution event on Saturday, April 11th and are expecting hundreds of people from the community.
- We have begun direct food delivery to seniors and the disabled who are homebound in the 24:1 Community footprint.
- Recently one of our partners, the St. Louis Area Diaper Bank, held a diaper distribution for area families. To give you a sense of the overwhelming need for help, 20,000 diapers were distributed in less than two hours to families in need.
- Affinia Healthcare will begin providing a new COVID-19 testing station starting April 13th behind its health center located at 6763 Page Avenue in Pagedale. This will provide convenient testing for the 24:1 Community
- April rent paid by tenants in our affordable rental homes is down 25% from a rolling six-month average. This will create a shortfall of $40,000 in rent that we will need to meet just for this month. Beyond Housing is also providing utility assistance with the support of the Community Impact Network, and St. Vincent de Paul is also providing rent assistance.
- Beyond Housing’s Housing Resource Coordinators (HRC) are reaching out to our 500 families who are living in our rental homes and all those in our senior housing centers to make sure we are aware of their current situation and needs.
- Our Family Engagement Liaisons (FELs) are also reaching out to families with children that attend Normandy schools to assess their needs. The FELs are also continuing food distribution with the school district via buses while we work with the district on a plan B if the risk of infection becomes too great.
- Beyond Housing is hosting ongoing meetings with the local mayors to coordinate emergency relief efforts and align resources. Together we are also working with county and state officials.
- In the midst of this crisis, we are continuing much of our regular work on behalf of the community. We are providing home maintenance, homebuyer education and down payment assistance, and motivating residents to complete the 2020 Census to make sure the community is accurately counted in order to receive the funding and benefits it is entitled to.
What is happening right now in North St. Louis County is significant and has serious implications for thousands of families as well as the entire St. Louis region. Though some things are beyond our control, we can control how we respond.
We and our many partners are committed to doing everything it takes to ensure the well-being of our region’s most vulnerable. We appreciate your interest and support and hope that you and your family remain safe and well in the coming days.
Beyond Housing is a nationally recognized, place-based community development organization that serves the 24:1 Community—an area comprised of municipalities within the Normandy schools footprint. Our work brings civic leaders, targeted non-profits, corporations, and residents together to provide the infrastructure, support, and resources to improve lives, strengthen families, and create meaningful and lasting impact for communities and the greater St. Louis region for generations to come.
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