Remy Gordon is the Founder of Seeking Shelter. At a young age, Remy began volunteering at a local Soup Kitchen in an underserved neighborhood. After completing undergrad, Remy became an elementary school teacher. After a few years, she decided to take a break from teaching and began working as a Program Coordinator at a trauma informed homeless shelter for women and children. While at the shelter, she grew very fond of the guests and grew to love working with this population. Remy returned to school to pursue her Masters in Social Work. She completed her Foundation Practicum at a homeless shelter for the youth.
Over the past year, Remy has been doing extensive research into the homeless population. It has become a passion of hers. One night while grocery shopping, a young woman with her one year old daughter approached Remy asking for money. This woman explained that she had nowhere to go and didn't want to sleep on the streets with her young daughter. Remy spent two hours that night calling all around St. Louis to find a shelter that would take this woman and her daughter. It was from this experience that Seeking Shelter originated. Had there been an easier method for this woman to find out what shelters are nearby and which were available, she could've found one on her own.
It is clear that homelessness is a tremendous issue that unfortunately affects way too many on a daily basis. There are various housing options for those that are affected by homeless; these include emergency shelters, transitional housing, rapid re-housing, and permanent support housing. In 2015, 98.1 percent of the beds in emergency shelters were full on any given night. From 2007 to 2015, the number of emergency shelter and permanent supportive housing increased by 25.1 percent and 69.2 recent respectively.
When 50 percent of poor household's income goes towards paying rent, that household is experiencing 'severe housing cost burden'. When families living this way suffer from an unfortunate event such as loss of employment or unexpected medical cost, they often result in homelessness. Nationally, 32 states have seen an increase in families living with 'severe housing cost burden'.
Families that are living with other families in inadequate amount of space are considered to be doubling up. This is the most common form of living prior to becoming homeless. In 2014, 7 million families were living doubled up, this was a 52 percent increase since 2007.
Homeless Population and Subpopulations
People in Families: 206,286
Family Households: 64,197
Chronically Homeless Individuals: 83,170
Chronically Homeless Persons in Families: 13,105
Unaccompanied Children and Youth: 36,907
*This data is from "The State of Homeless in America", 2016*