Places for People (PfP) was founded in 1972 to provide housing and mental health services to people being discharged from the St. Louis State Psychiatric Hospital. This downsizing process, also known as deinstitutionalization, affected more than 3,500 people in the St. Louis area throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. While many discharged patients entered private nursing homes or privately-run boarding homes, countless others quickly became homeless, especially those who were poor and seriously ill.
While some discharged patients could return to the care of their families, there were many whose families were unwilling or unable to provide shelter and assistance -- a great number of others simply had no family members left to care for them. Many of PfP’s earliest clients had also spent years – if not a majority of their lives – in structured, routine, and often isolated institutionalized care. Many lacked the personal and social skills needed to live independently in the community.
In its infancy, PfP was entirely volunteer-run. Off-duty doctors and social workers from the state hospital provided housing, healthcare and support services to the growing ranks of individuals who needed more support than was available through existing mental health programs. Realizing the immediate need for housing, Places for People opened Missouri’s first supported apartment program for people living with serious mental illness.
Places for People's mission is to provide individualized, high-quality and cost-effective services to adults with serious and persistent mental disorders so they can live, work, and socialize in environments of their own choosing. We accept a special responsibility to serve those individuals who rely on public funding.