ST. LOUIS, MO/April 08, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) It’s not often business ventures pop up determined to make a lasting impact on the community above all else. The St. Louis region’s largest homeless services agency closed down its downtown restaurant, McMurphy’s Café, last month, officially ending a job training program that it had been offering the homeless since 1990. It was the first food services program of its kind that has since been replicated across the country.
Laurie Phillips, CEO of St. Patrick Center, said that the nonprofit is restructuring to “remove all barriers to housing as the client’s first step.” She went on to state that “Job and skills training, along with employment placement, are necessary support services in this model. We will restructure the McMurphy’s employment training program to align with eh Housing Fire practice.”
Specifics were not provided at this time of how the closing will be overseen. Phillips did state, however, that the McMurphy’s employment training program, including program staff visits to other similar operations around the country, is expected to take 12 to 18 months.
At the same time, the agency is closing its McMurphy’s food kiosk at 1520 Market Street, a building that houses several city services today. The exact date for its closure has not been determined at this time.
The St. Patrick Center first opened a café 27-years ago in St. Louis, solidifying itself as the nation’s first restaurant for training those struggling with homelessness and mental illness. Today, thousands of nonprofits around the country have adopted St. Patrick’s business model to run operations with a similar structure. The organization works with partners Peter and Paul Community Services, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the St. Louis City Continuum of Care to provide housing coordination through Biddle Housing, presently a 24-hour shelter that opened in August.
Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo