Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service raising $1.5M for transitional, affordable housing in St. Charles County region – St. Louis Business Journal – St. Louis Business Journal

Some St. Charles County residents are often surprised when Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service talks about the need for affordable and transitional housing in their county, according to Donna Tobin, the nonprofit’s development associate.
That’s because St. Charles is often identified as Missouri’s wealthiest county, like it was in a report last year by SmartAsset showing the county’s average median household income, $84,978, is 53.2% higher than the statewide median. But Tobin said the research on affluence doesn’t address to the county residents who work for low-income wages or those on fixed incomes, she said.
“We simply don’t have the housing inventory that is affordable for those people, and we don’t have public transportation to make it easy for people who might find some affordable housing in St. Louis County or farther out into Lincoln and Warren counties,” she said.
As a result, the Care Service has launched a campaign to raise at least $1.5 million to acquire about 20 units of transitional and affordable housing units in St. Charles and Lincoln counties and possibly Warren County. The entire $1.5 million would be spent on acquiring the 20 units — either a small apartment complex or duplexes, and possibly single-family housing — and making any repairs. The Care Service’s program hinges on the price of housing in St. Charles and Lincoln counties, she added.
“If the market continues to be as crazy as it is, we may not be able to get 20 units. We may have to start with something smaller, but our goal is to be able to find something for 20. That’s why we know that it is likely at least a portion of the housing will be in Lincoln County. The pricing is a little bit lower out that way,” she said.
There wouldn’t be a need for subsidies because tenants would be expected to pay 30% of their pre-tax monthly income on rent. For example, a single mother with two children earning $1,490 would pay $447 per month in rent, according to Tobin.
The mission of the organization, which is a nonprofit group under the umbrella of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, is to serve those in crisis and to prevent homelessness and hunger by providing programs to help low-income, working families in those three counties.
So far, the Care Service has received a $500,000 donation from Leo “Tony” Vogel and his wife, Lisa, for transitional housing and a $300,000 pledge from an anonymous donor. Plans call for requesting donations soon from major employers and community residents.
“There are many people, particularly families, who are struggling. For the want of a small amount of help, you can permanently change a life,” said Tony Vogel, a retired chemical industry executive who has served on the board of directors for Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service.
More than 30,000 people, including 6,218 children, in St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren counties are living below the poverty line and struggling to provide shelter for their family, according to U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by the National Association of Counties.
The average full-time minimum-wage worker can afford to spend just $536 a month on rent, which is nearly $200 less than the fair market rent for a one-bedroom apartment in St. Charles, Lincoln or Warren counties, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C.
During the 2020 Homeless Point in Time Count reported by the Community Council of St. Charles County, 392 individuals were considered homeless in the three counties.
“While our agency has made great strides in reducing homelessness in our area, with a 54% decrease over the last five years, there is still much work to be done,” said Pam Struckhoff, executive director of Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service. “The greatest barrier to overcome is a severe lack of affordable and transitional housing in our area.”
The Care Service has five transitional homes in St. Charles County for its clients who are homeless – which is defined as an individual living on the street, or a family living in a motel, or moving from one friend’s residence to another.
In addition to providing housing, the Care Service also offers case management services for two years so clients can move into a market-rate apartment or rental house.
The unhoused who move into the Care Service’s transitional housing initially pay a portion of the market rent and work with a case manager to set goals so they can be self-sustaining. By the end of the two years, they are paying the full rent so the Care Service knows they can afford that amount, Tobin said.
Acquiring units for affordable housing would be a new program for the Care Service. Many of the Care Service’s clients are at an income level at which they can’t afford to live in rental housing long term, Tobin said.
“There’s far more people who need affordable housing than what is available. So our goal would be to begin having some units available for those who are not able to afford the current market rent for housing that exists,” she said.
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