In January of 1981, a homeless man was found frozen to death in the Soulard neighborhood in South St. Louis City. This was a catalyst that soon sparked a community-wide initiative to help homeless individuals in need and inspired community members to open a winter shelter in the St. Peter and Paul Church basement. A few years later, volunteers established Peter & Paul Community Services (PPCS)—a private non-profit offering food and shelter to individuals with low incomes in the area.
As the HIV/AIDS epidemic grew and death rates began to rise, PPCS responded by opening Positive Directions, a transitional housing program for HIV positive men and women. Today, the clinical staff at Positive Directions provide shelter, case management and access to primary medical care to support those living with HIV.
“At Positive Directions, residents gain control of their illness and find hope for the future. As the only transitional housing program and day center for homeless individuals living with HIV/AIDS in St. Louis, we provide the housing stability and services that leads each individual from homelessness to independent living. We want to help each resident live a healthy and vibrant life,” said Steve Campbell, Executive Director of the agency.
In addition to two emergency shelters that house 160 men nightly, PPCS also provides healthy meals to 200 families in the area. With a primary focus on individuals who are mentally ill and living with HIV, they provide two transitional housing facilities, permanent supportive housing and a variety of art and athletic activities.
“This would not be possible without the direct assistance of our many wonderful volunteers, partners, and supporters,” Campbell said. “The DIFFA grant supported the expansion of Positive Directions’ sobriety services for our clients with drug and alcohol addictions. We can’t thank them enough for their belief in our mission and in the men and women we serve.”
Peter & Paul Community Services is just one of hundreds of HIV/AIDS organizations DIFFA supports through its grant-making efforts. To learn more about PPCS visit: www.ppcsinc.org