Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

A handful of homeless people milled about in the shade of a big green and white tent in suburban St. Louis County.

The massive canopy represents the latest in a string of attempts by Rev. Larry Rice of the New Life Evangelistic Center to set up a camp for the homeless.  

St. Louis County officials and police were on hand Saturday morning while Rice began setting up the camp in a vacant lot on Lada Avenue.

Officials told Rice that he did not file the proper paperwork to have a portable toilet, and that he could not have multiple tents.  

(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)

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.”

(via Facebook/The Bridge St. Louis)

On the last Sunday in June, The Bridge – a social service agency operated out of Centenary United Methodist Church in downtown St. Louis – served its 750,000th  meal.

Volunteers dished out just over 6,000 meals in 2006, the first year The Bridge was open. Last year, more than 171,000 people accepted a free hot meal.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann sat down with Kathleen Wilder, the pastor at Centenary and the executive director of The Bridge, to reflect on what it means that so many people are in need.

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.

Homeless St. Louisans displaced from three riverfront camps north of downtown will now have a new place to pitch their tents.

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.

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)

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.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

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.

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.