Poverty
5:13 pm
Fri April 27, 2012

Protesters say St. Louis homeless camps must stay

Protesters marched from the homeless camps north of the Gateway Arch to St. Louis City Hall today demanding city officials freeze plans to raze the encampments next month.

About 50 people live in the three riverfront camps that the city’s Department of Human Services has deemed a risk to public health and safety.

The department is working to place the occupants in permanent public housing, but Reverend Larry Rice, director of the New Life Evangelistic Center, says that should be done before kicking the people out. 

“Keep the community open; don’t shut the community down,"  Rice said. "Because what’s happening is  if they put these people in hotels or temporary housing what’s going to happen at the end of that is they’re going to end up homeless ultimately. We need that tent community. It’s met some tremendous needs,” he said.

The first camp is slated for removal next Wednesday.