Bill Seidhoff

(via Flickr/pasa47)

St. Louis officials say a new federal grant could enable them to end long-term homelessness in the city in 18 months.

The city announced today that it had received $1.25 million to provide services like rental assistance, substance abuse and mental health treatment, and other support for those who have been living on the street long-term. 

Previous federal grants could only be used for specific populations, says human services director Bill Siedhoff. The new federal money will provide those critical support services to a broader population.

New Life Evangelistic Center, 1411 Locust St. in downtown St. Louis.
via Flickr | pasa 47.

Reverend Larry Rice says he is tired of waiting for the city to remove barriers that have surrounded his homeless shelter in downtown St. Louis for the past five weeks.

Sidewalks on both sides of Locust Street in front of New Life Evangelistic Center are blocked off by metal barriers. Bill Seidhoff, the director of the city’s department of human services, said the city placed the barriers there after receiving calls from residents who were concerned about hygiene and safety because of the homeless people who congregate and sleep around the center.

(flickr/Jack W. Reid)

As this year’s heat wave wears on, St. Louis city officials are stepping up their efforts to keep the death toll among the area’s homeless population from rising.

Department of Human Services Director Bill Siedhoff  says people living on the streets can be at greater risk for heat-related illness and death. 

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

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.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis city work crews demolished tents and makeshift structures with heavy machinery at another homeless camp north of the Arch grounds downtown this afternoon.

Fewer than 50 homeless persons were living at the camp known as Hopeville. All were gone by the time bulldozers and debris bins arrived today. 

St. Louis Director of Human Services Bill Siedhoff says before leaving they were given federally-funded vouchers to cover the cost of permanent housing.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

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.

(via Flickr/pasa47)

The city of St. Louis says the 30 remaining residents of three homeless encampments located just north of downtown will have until the end of May to leave the location, or face possible arrest.

"The encampments have attracted a great deal of attention to the problems of homeless persons," said Bill Siedhoff, the city's human services director. "But they are not safe places for people to live, and they are certainly not a long-term answer to the problem."

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The 45 people that make their home in three camps north of downtown are invisible to most St. Louisans.

They lived nestled between the floodwall and the train tracks at the foot of the new Mississippi River Bridge with little city interference until January. That’s when a propane heater sparked a fire that torched three tents. Even more attention followed after one resident fatally stabbed another in May, and the city made the decision to clear the location. It's an already difficult task - made even harder by the stubbornly sluggish economy.

(Google Maps)

St. Louis city officials say they will step up their efforts to move residents from a series of tent encampments along the Mississippi River north of downtown into permanent housing.