Housing First

Clearing the Camps
6:35 am
Fri August 19, 2011

Challenging population, economy complicate city's efforts to clear homeless camps

The first of three homeless encampments is visible from a bridge along the riverfront pedestrian and bike trail. (See more photos in the slideshow below).
(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.

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