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.
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."
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.