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Goodwill is looking to assist homeless people as the cold weather persists. Metropolitan Employment Rehabilitation Services Missouri Goodwill Industries, also known as Goodwill, has partnered with 29 homeless shelters to provide shopping vouchers during the winter season.
There are approximately 4,500 homeless people in areas considered MERS Missouri Goodwill's territory, according to a Tuesday news release from Goodwill. Specifically, there are more than 3,000 homeless people in Missouri locations and 700 homeless people in Illinois locations.
Goodwill has provided its partner homeless shelters with $75,000 worth of vouchers. In response to the cold winter weather, many of the vouchers will be for coats, clothing and other resources that shelters rely on for the well-being of those they look after.
The news release also referenced the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the already-struggling homeless population.
"The economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have served to exacerbate the problems faced by agencies dealing with chronically homeless population," the release said. "Not only is there a dwindling in financial resources to serve the homeless population, but the reduction in staffing levels has led to a dearth of employment opportunities."
Already, many homeless shelters have noticed a positive impact from Goodwill's actions, including Peter and Paul Community Services in St. Louis.
"We are grateful for the support provided by MERS Goodwill and their voucher program; we are excited to see the positive effects this will soon have for our clients and residents," Kati Ballard Hoffman, Peter and Paul Community Services' volunteer coordinator, said in the news release.