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Hidden Gems: Meet Michael and Jennifer Robinson of City Hope St. Louis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael and Jennifer Robinson. Them and their team share their story with us below:

During the winter vortex of 2017, Michael Robinson and dEstiny Family Church partnered with Bridge of Hope Ministries to address the void that the City of St. Louis was experiencing due to the New Life Evangelistic Center being closed. That winter they housed 60-75 people nightly. The following year, dEstiny operated a pop-up shelter in south St. Louis city. Nearly 60 individuals were housed nightly. During this time Michael Robinson & Jennifer Turner began discussing plans for the future of shelter work.

After seeing an immediate need for more available bed space and quality services for the unhoused, City Hope St. Louis was founded by Bishop Dr. Michael Robinson and Jennifer Turner in September 2019. City Hope St. Louis provides immediate shelter and resources for individuals in the Saint Louis Metropolitan Region experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless. Our mission is to cure homelessness while loving people and impacting the world.

City Hope currently operates seven shelters across St. Louis City. City Hope St. Louis has developed programs which have successfully assisted many in finding sustainable employment and permanent housing. We believe that the development of true relationships with the individuals we serve and a deep-rooted desire to address all aspects of their immediate and long-term needs with love & dignity are the keys to our success.

We have the privilege of having some amazing team members at City Hope St. Louis. We have intentionally staffed persons of various backgrounds. The agency has even employed some its unhoused guests. This has provided us with the ability to serve with a balanced approach. Our unhoused staff members have proven to be loyal and very dependable. We also have team members that are extremely passionate about the work that they get to do with our unhoused community members. We are committed to building a team of “Make It Happen” individuals that recognize the value of hospitality.

We have developed a strong sense of family at City Hope St. Louis. We are the only family that some who we serve have. Our mantra is, “Homelessness is not a crime.” As a result, we ensure that we work to provide our guests a comfortable, peaceful environment, great meals, and fun activities, and most importantly, City Hope staff treats everyone with respect and provides exceptional service. We have often heard, “This is the friendliest shelter I’ve ever been too!”

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Providing quality service to the unhoused has not been a smooth road. However, our passion and compassion continue to drive us. Our love and care for our unhoused guests help us push through all obstacles. Our biggest challenge is ensuring that we have enough funding to continue to serve in excellence. Although we are partially funded by the City of St. Louis and has proven to be an excellent partner, we are still significantly short in funding. City Hope serves an average of almost 300 people a night with most being served on a 24 hour basis.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about City Hope St. Louis?
City Hope St. Louis is the largest homeless shelter provider in the St. Louis region serving almost 300 unhoused individuals a night. We serve our unhoused guest with love, dignity and respect. They are a part of our family.

We are extremely proud of our growth over the last two years as we have grown from serving 60 people nightly to hundreds nightly. We would love to continue to serve and expand our service offerings to include providing permanent housing, job training and increased employment opportunities.

Our agency strives to be impactful not only in St. Louis, but across the world. A goal is to open additional locations and programs throughout the country.

If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
The true love, care and support that we give to our unhoused friends.

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