In fact, suburban officials say, since the economic collapse of 2008, the problem has grown in outlying communities. But they don't have the money to adequately address homelessness.
Kasgigar said her region receives the same amount every year — about $227,000 — for homeless programs even though the homeless population is rising sharply, topping 100 for the first time in 2010, the last year for which figures are available.
St. Louis County spends $3.5 million annually on homeless services.
"The funding has not followed the problem," Kasgigar said. "Suburban communities are left to struggle on their own."
There are no shelters for men in Kasgigar's three counties, but churches in the region have set up a fund that pays for a hotel room for those in need of temporary housing. Programs are also available to help counsel them, she said.
Belleville-area churches provide similar assistance. Eckert said the town's only shelter for homeless men, operated by the Salvation Army, closed in 2010.
Officials on both sides of the issue agree on at least one thing: They should discuss solutions. Eckert suggested suburban areas consider adopting a regional approach to the problem. Siedhoff is thinking of calling for a regional summit.
"I just think it's a matter of reaching out to leaders of these counties and communities to think about homeless people," he said.
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