Shoes Represent Missouri's Homeless
To symbolize the growing number of Missourians who have no place to call home, thousands of shoes were placed all over the state capitol Monday morning where each pair of boots, heels, and slippers represent the homeless of Missouri.
Groups say half of Missouri's homeless population are under age nine and they said Missouri's government isn't listening.
There were 2600 pairs of shoes in all, one pair for ten people which equals a total of 26,000 Missourians.
Tom Gould wants to help the homeless because he cares, but he also said the Missouri government isn't listening and neither is anyone else.
More than ten years ago Missouri's legislature passed the Missouri Housing Trust Fund. The fund helps people pay utility bills, rent and repairs and gives money to homeless shelters. But Gould said the fund desperately needs more money.
"We've seen the number of homeless, especially families increase in our state," said Liz Hagarmace of the Governor's Committee to End Homelessness.
Gould said last year the fund had $24,000,000 in requests but only $5,000,000 of money available. He's spent the past four years trying to get Missouri's legislature to improve the fund.
"We are judged by how we treat the weakest and the least among us," said Senator Chuck Graham of Columbia.
Gould says the weak won't grow strong until Missouri legislators open their ears.
The groups donated the shoes to this salvation army in Jefferson City and to other charities across the state. Members of the Missouri Association for Social Welfare and the Governor's Committee to end Homelessness helped organize Monday's event to kick off National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.