To help you feel more connected to and involved with your County government, each week I'll be sharing with you the report that I present at the County Council meetings. You are welcome to attend County Council meetings; they are open to the public and feature time for public comment.
Below is the County Executive Report I delivered during the January 21, 2020 County Council meeting.
Thank you, Lisa, and good evening everyone –
Cold weather has made its way to St. Louis. For most of us, that means cranking up the thermostat, throwing another blanket on the bed and looking forward to spring.
But for some in our communities, cold weather brings anxiety, health risks and uncertainty about a safe, warm place to stay.
Some of our residents struggle with homelessness, unsure from day-to-day where they will find shelter.
Others are temporarily without a place to live and need some helping hands along the way. And during the winter, some of our more vulnerable residents cannot afford to turn on their heat, or do not have a properly working furnace.
St. Louis County currently operates a 24-hour warming shelter in partnership with the Salvation Army. The shelter on Page Avenue will remain open through mid-March, no matter the temperature, providing hot meals, laundry facilities and case management services.
St. Louis County spends more than $3.5 million a year on homeless services and helps provide more than 780 beds for those who find themselves without permanent shelter.
As a government, we must do all we can within our fiscal constraints to help all our residents. In addition, as individuals, we can give our time, our energy our generosity to ensure that the most basic needs of all our residents are met.
The holidays have come and gone, but hopefully not our spirit of charity, the tug to help. Check on your neighbors who live by themselves. Make sure the family down the street has the resources to get their children to school, the parents the ability to get to a job interview.
We are all in this together, to make sure no one is left behind.
I missed last week’s council meeting, spending vacation time on a Jesuit mission trip to the Dominican Republic.
Operation Walk is an all- volunteer medical humanitarian organization. Doctors travel to developing countries to provide orthopedic surgery to patients and to train medical personnel there to perform the procedures long after we are gone.
We worked 12-hour days on knee and hip replacement surgeries for patients who could not walk more than a few blocks. It’s surgery that would not have otherwise been available for them. Operation Walk was founded by Dr. Lawrence D. Dorr, who wanted to use his skills to help impoverished people suffering from disabling joint-related conditions.
Dr. Dorr and his team put all the pieces together to perform successful missions in all parts of the world. Over the past 21 years, Operation Walk has performed hip and knee replacement surgery for more than 17,000 people in 25 countries. Under Dr. Dorr’s leadership, Operation Walk, with the flagship chapter in Los Angeles, has grown into an international organization with 20 chapters in the USA, two in Canada, one in Ireland, one in Thailand, and one being organized in London.
St. Louis area doctors have participated in Operation Walk for more than a decade. This was the first time I was able to go.
It was revealing to see healthcare outside the U.S. and the disparities in access and treatment.
But those disparities in access to healthcare also reside here at home. We must make access to healthcare available for everyone, and one way to do that in Missouri is with Medicaid expansion. We are leaving federal funds behind when we leave our most vulnerable behind.
Expansion of Medicaid is something we should all support.
Thousands of Missouri lives are at stake.
That's all for now. Thanks, Lisa.