A visit to the region by Phil Mangano, the savvy executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and the federal point person in addressing chronic homelessness, reminded me of a memo I recently received from the St. Louis Police Department.
Late last month, City police officers responded to a call at the downtown bus station where they met a very frightened man. He said that he had just been discharged from the State Hospital in Farmington, and that a hospital van had dropped him at the bus station. He had a couple of boxes of belongings, no money, and no idea why he had been left at the station. The police summoned EMS personnel who took the individual to the Veterans Administration Hospital.
The police memo reminded me that this was the second such dumping incident they had noticed recently. In November, the police said they had encountered another patient from the hospital at the bus station. Although the man was carrying a note saying that he was to go to the Sunshine Mission, the hospital van didn’t take him there. Hospital authorities had notified St. Louis County, but not the City, that the individual, a registered sex offender, had been released. According to the police, the man had no money and no plans. The police took the man to St. Patrick Center.
City and police officials will be talking to the state hospital’s administrators about these incidents, but you have to wonder: we noticed these two cases, but how many other people are being left downtown with no resources?
You can read about the plan to end chronic homelessness here.