Homelessness in St. Charles Co. exposed through pictures in new exhibit

A new exhibit in St. Peters seeks to expose the problem of homelessness in St. Charles Co. Credit: KMOV

A new photo gallery opened in St. Peters Cultural Arts Centre Thursday, but the artists are not famous or professional.

Instead, the artists behind the lens of these photographs are everyday people, at least that’s how they hope people perceive them from this new exhibit.

The exhibit is called “In Plain Sight: Homelessness Exposed.” The whole purpose of the exhibit is to show people the truth of what it’s like to be homeless in St. Charles County, taken by homeless people in that community.

Joshua Shaw became homeless in St. Charles County in 2012.

“Bad decisions…drinking…,” said Shaw.

He has multiple jobs doing roofing, weeding, and painting, but doesn’t make enough money to be a homeowner.

Shaw along with 24 other homeless people in this area took pictures of their lives for three weeks and then returned the disposable cameras to Sts. Joachim & Ann Care Service to be submitted to the exhibit.

This project was funded by Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Peters. Community outreach members with the hospital and care service teamed up to go through the photos and picked several to be displayed in St. Peter’s Cultural Arts Centre, in City Hall. The goal is to raise awareness about the homeless community in this area and also raise money to combat it.

“The homeless feel like they are invisible, but they are sitting there in plain sight and people still don’t see them,” said Pam Struckoff, program director of Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service.

Struckoff hopes this exhibit breaks down the perception that there is not poverty in St. Charles County. She says their care service works with 6,000 homeless people in the area each year.

“We don’t receive as much federal funding for housing as other cities do, so they’re here and they are not going away,” said Struckoff.

By showing people the truth of what it’s like to be homeless, this community hopes to change perception.

“It’s not always as it seems,” said Shaw, “They’re not bad people at all. Some are a little lost. They have issues, so do I, I have issues, but they are not bad ones.”

With that change, they hope it brings them closer to the community they are a part of.

“Sometimes we’d rather see a smile than a dollar to tell you the truth,” said Shaw.

This exhibit will be on display until August 20. You can donate to Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service homeless outreach program directly throughout this exhibit.

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