Setbacks lead church group to plan covert homeless camp

May 23, 2012

A local church is taking a more low-key approach in its struggle with city officials to set up a homeless camp in St. Louis. 

Rev. Larry Rice of the New Life Evangelistic Center was arrested last week as he attempted to open a tent city called Integrity Village on a two-acre plot of private land at Vendeventer Ave. north of Interstate 44. City officials cleared the site and condemned the area as a health hazard. But Rice's son, Rev. Chris Rice, says they aren’t giving up.

“We’re taking this underground," he said. "We’re not going to tell you where we’re taking it. And it could be anywhere in the greater St. Louis area where there’s access to transportation, where there’s access to water and electricity.”

The group maintains the city does not provide adequate shelter for homeless persons and is asking private groups and individuals to volunteer land for the cause.