The first of three homeless camps has been razed north of downtown near the riverfront. City clean-up crews removed about ten wood structures and graded the camp known as Dignity Harbor.
St. Louis Director of Human Services Bill Siedhoff says the vacated residents have been given federally-funded vouchers to cover the cost of permanent housing.
He says the camp was too dangerous to live in.
“We feel the city has bent over backwards," Siedhoff said. "We have accommodated everybody in Dignity Harbor. They’ve all moved out; they have a place to go. We’re providing them metro passes so they can ride public transit. We have done everything we possibly can to help people get out of this rat-infested, dangerous place."
The camps have averaged about 50 people in total over the last few years. The two remaining camps are slated for removal in the next two weeks.
Dwight Cofer lives in the camp called Hopeville, which is slated for removal next Friday. After last weekend’s hail storm damaged his tent, he says he’s glad he has some options.
“I’m back where I started when I got here," Cofer said. "The tent … leaks. Summertime coming, flies [are] going to come. So, I need to get out of here and the sooner the better.”