The Diary of a Temporarily Homeless St. Louis Prosecutor

Categories: Community

Editor's note: Last week St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce joined other community leaders in sleeping outside to raise awareness for teen homelessness. Riverfront Times asked Joyce to chronicle her experience that night. This is her story, in her words.

joyce sleeping bag.jpg
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce keeps warm in her "Elmer Fudd" hat.
It was a 90-degree day two months ago when Covenant House of Missouri invited my husband, Kevin, and me to sleep outside on November 15 to raise awareness for teen homelessness. In considering the strange request, I reviewed a YouTube video documenting last year's CEO Sleep Out in the Big Apple.

To me, the most striking part of that clip was not the Wall Street executives and city leaders who volunteered to sleep outside on the streets of New York. It was the shocked and surprised reaction of the teenagers who were so visibly moved that these CEOs thought about them at all, let alone were willing to sleep outside on their behalf. After watching the video once, Kevin and I were in.

Although they are largely invisible to society in general, homeless teens are inescapable to those of us who work in the criminal justice system. Too many families have profoundly neglected and abused children. Every day these kids end up as crime victims and even as criminals themselves. As a prosecutor, I'm often put into contact with these teens after something bad has happened, so I was eager to have an opportunity to work on the proactive side of this problem.

Here, then, is my diary from this past Thursday -- the night I experienced firsthand some of the obstacles they face each and every day.

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Homeless bums.  


Parents way of disposing of their kin.


Any teen psychologist knows that. 




Ed, you post on various sites and your views are always negative and unenlightening. If St. Louis has an anvil around its neck, it's people like you. 


Jennifer Joyce, well done. Good to know some public officials do give a damn about the voiceless and suffering members of our community. Didn't someone once say: Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me? The higher we can lift up the lowest among us, the more all of us will rise. 

egolterman topcommenter

This is a self-serving photo-op by radio station marketers, elected and appointed officials and business leaders who continue to lead St. louis-down, down, down. Wanna help the homeless and establish and sustain more half-way houses? Recover the economy and end the violent crime. They are kind of 'tied together' What a bunch of children, with their diversions and mis-direction plays.

Drago N Hide
Drago N Hide

Every elected official should experience this.... What Jennifer Joyce went through that one night was just a tiny little drop of a taste of what true homeless folks go through, but this is a start, and I am sure makes an impact.

James Adams
James Adams

its good for her to get out there and get a feel for the streets.

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