Homelessness is a big problem.

And together, we can do something about it.

Most people assume folks who are homeless are mentally ill or addicted to alcohol or drugs. While those challenges do exist in the homeless community, it’s tough to know if they’re the cause of homelessness or caused by homelessness. (And remember: Many people with homes encounter those same struggles!)

The truth is, people end up on the streets for all sorts of reasons: generational poverty, unhealthy family dynamics, insufficient education or employment opportunities, a lack of financial reserves when a crisis hits, and more.

Regardless of the “why,” we believe everyone deserves a safe home of their own.

With your help, HomeFirst can fill a service gap.

In St. Louis, some people who are homeless have faster access to services than others. For example, women and children tend to find shelter sooner than men, and a number of programs exist for people with severe mental illness or active addictions. 

Healthy, able-bodied men who are homeless have the most difficult time finding help. So those are the ones we serve.

We ask our trusted community partners to send us referrals for single men who are:

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Ready to make a lasting change in their lives

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Ineligible for other housing assistance programs

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Employed or able to seek employment within 90 days of being housed

Our model is simple, but effective.

Referral

We receive referrals from trusted community partners. .

Housing

We get them off the streets and into a safe, affordable apartment.

Support

We connect our residents with a volunteer advocate and relevant resources.

Success

People who were once homeless stay housed long-term.

We’re an open book.

We don’t take your support lightly, which is why we’re transparent with our financial statements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do HomeFirst residents pay rent?

People considering donating to HomeFirst often want to know if we charge our residents rent. That’s a great question, and the short answer is, “Yes.” As you can imagine, it usually takes a little time for people to get back on their feet after living on the streets, so we rarely charge rent immediately. But when our residents’ income (and life) stabilizes, our lease agreement expects residents to pay 30% of their income—with a minimum of $250/month and a cap of  $450/month. HomeFirst subsidizes utilities.

How long can residents stay in a HomeFirst apartment?

Unlike with “emergency” or “transitional” housing models, HomeFirst housing isn’t time-limited. As long as residents continue to meet program guidelines, they’re welcome to stay in one of our apartments.

What are the HomeFirst program guidelines?

To help our residents stay housed long-term, they agree to meet with our Care Coordinator weekly and with their Advocate regularly. We also have mutually agreed upon expectations in regard to rent, property upkeep, and being a good neighbor. If you have specific questions about our program guidelines, please be in touch.

How does someone qualify for the HomeFirst program?

We ask our trusted community partners to send us a referral for single men who are ready to make a lasting change in their lives, are employed or able to seek employment within 90 days of being housed, and are ineligible for other housing assistance programs. Then, our Care Coordinator and members of our Advocate team meet with the candidate to discuss our guidelines. If it seems like our program will help the person stay house long-term, and if they agree to our guidelines, we offer them a place.