St. Louis County executive Charlie Dooley is pledging to open an emergency homeless shelter in the county by the end of the year.
Dooley announced the shift in policy in a series of Tweets on Friday. The county will also be looking for agencies to operate transitional housing - which is a stepping stone between a shelter and a permanent residence - and will host a homeless summit in October.
Rev. Larry Rice directed about 20 homeless persons to a mall in Fairview Heights on Tuesday to underscore the lack of shelters in St. Clair County.
Rice says many homeless persons seeking refuge from the triple-digit temperatures wind up across the river at his shelter downtown.
“Belleville represents what we see in so many municipalities," Rice said. "Where people just aren’t dealing with the homeless. They’re closing shelters. We saw a shelter close here – the Salvation Army – in 2009. They made no other arrangements for the homeless.”
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.
The Rev. Larry Rice yesterday unveiled his plans for "Integrity Village," which will be established today on two privately-owned acres near Interstate 44 and Vandeventer. Rice says the camp will be Christian-based and drug-free.
City officials say they won't permit this newest camp - but Rice says he'll be protected by the First Amendment.
St. Louis to demolish plywood shacks near Mississippi River
Demolition will begin Friday at a row of plywood shacks near the Mississippi River in St. Louis where 10 homeless people have been evacuated.
It is the first of three riverfront encampments the city ordered shut down. St. Louis Human Services Director Bill Siedhoff has said that he hopes to have all three encampments cleared out by May 18 after reports of violent crime and rat infestation.