All of us are faced with choices — at home, at work, at school. The choices are urgent, or not. The consequences are serious, or not. We make the choices and move on.
For the last several years, a group of people — including many local firefighters — have been working together to help 65,000 of our neighbors in eastern Missouri and southern Illinois make urgent, serious choices to pay their rent, stay warm, or eat. No one in St. Louis — or Wellston, Granite City, or Maplewood should have to choose among those things regularly.
Calling themselves Heat-Up St. Louis, the group Chairman Melanie Dileo, Vice Chairman Dr. James Knight, co-founders Gentry Trotter and Tim Gorline, and many other volunteers have worked to reduce the number of local families facing those hard choices.
Last week, I presented Heat-Up St. Louis with a check for $75,000 to help pay some heating bills right now, I will add $25,000 to that amount as the winter progresses, and I have asked the City’s Affordable Housing Commission to approve another $250,000 for fuel assistance this winter. That will bring the City’s commitment to utility assistance to more than $800,000.
That’s a lot of money. And, it’s not enough. If there are other mayors and elected officials reading this, please join the City and Heat-Up St. Louis in this important cause.