New Life Evangelistic Center | St. Louis Public Radio

New Life Evangelistic Center

OliBac | Flickr

The city of St. Louis is making additional beds available Thursday night for people who are homeless.

Temperatures were expected to drop into the teens overnight. The city is relying on a network of churches and other nonprofit groups this year to provide people who might not ordinarily seek shelter with a place to stay. Unlike previous years, it will not use the gym at the 12th and Park Recreation Center near the Soulard neighborhood.

New Life wants state to provide building for homeless shelter

Apr 27, 2017
Ron Whelan signs the Rev. Larry Rice's petition addressed to the Governor to provide New Life with a building. 04/27/2017 in front of City Hall and Market Street
Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

After a long fight with city officials over New Life Evangelistic Center’s homeless shelter, founder, the Rev. Larry Rice is bringing the matter to the state level.

In a letter addressed to Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, Rice asks the state to provide a building for the New Life Evangelistic Center to be used as a shelter.

Carr Square residents Kevin Costello and Joseph Futrell gather petitions against Biddle House outside the public forum introducing the agencies that applied to run it on Wed. May, 25, 2016.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

A new homeless shelter north of downtown St. Louis violates the U.S. Constitution by promoting segregation, according to a complaint lodged Monday with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development by two St. Louis-area state representatives.  

Richard Riegerix, 46, uses a breathing machine to treat emphysema in a temporary shelter set up in a city-owned warehouse. Riegerix stayed at New Life Evangelistic Center for three months before it was closed down by the city on April 2, 2017.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio.

By dinnertime, the beds had started to fill.

Earlier, employees for the city of St. Louis had laid out about 70 green and orange cots in the corner of a Forestry Division warehouse in the Carr Square neighborhood. They anticipated that at least several dozen people would be without shelter on Sunday night as the city order the closing the  New Life Evangelistic Center, in downtown St. Louis, after a years-long legal battle.

A group of men put out mayoral campaign signs outside the New Life Evangelistic Center a day before the downtown St. Louis shelter at 1411 Locust St. is slated to close on April 2, 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated April 1 after rally — The founder of New Life Evangelistic Center spent the final hours before his downtown St. Louis shelter closes leading rallies.

The Rev. Larry Rice is running for mayor of St. Louis and hopes that he can re-open his shelter if he wins Tuesday.

The city has been fighting to close New Life for years, saying it’s a detriment to the neighborhood.

New Life Evangelistic Center doesn't like to be held to a set capacity for shelter. Administrators say they don't want to turn anyone away.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Jan. 13 with results of appeal — A city board is ordering a downtown homeless shelter to close by April 1. 

On Thursday, St. Louis' Board of Building Appeals denied New Life Evangelistic Center's appeal of a cease and desist notice issued in early November. The center has been operating without an occupancy permit since May 2015.

St. Louis receives $1 million to house the homeless

Nov 29, 2016
The Biddle facility acts as an overnight emergency shelter. 11/29
Hannah Westerman | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis is the recipient of a $1 million federal grant to combat homelessness.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is supplying the funds to rapidly re-house up to 150 people.

Paramedics with the St. Louis Fire Department tend to a person who had taken the synthetic marijuana known as K2 outside the New Life Evangelistic Center on Nov. 10, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Social services providers in St. Louis are working to combat a spike in the number of people overdosing on a synthetic marijuana known as K2.

Since Monday, the St. Louis Fire Department had treated at least 100 people suffering the effects of the drug.  Many of the victims were clustered around downtown homeless shelters and service providers.

New Life Evangelistic Center is located in downtown St. Louis.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

The Board of Building Appeals in St. Louis city board has unanimously voted to require a downtown homeless shelter to seek approval from its neighbors for a new occupancy permit.

The board also voted Thursday to allow New Life Evangelistic Center to continue operating next to a school.

St. Louis city police convene June 28, 2016 at the park across the street from the St. Louis Public Library headquarters on Olive Street downtown. People experiencing homelessness often can be found at the park.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Homeless advocates say a bill being considered by St. Louis aldermen would bar them from helping people in need.

The measure would require a vendor’s license to distribute food, blankets or other goods on city sidewalks or parks — even if those items are being given away. It would also make it illegal to give anything away between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

New Life attorney Todd Lubben, right, asks New Life Vice President Raymond Redlich a question during testimony May 26, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated May 26 with final testimony - By this time next month New Life Evangelistic Center could know whether St. Louis will give the downtown shelter a new occupancy permit without the approval of its neighbors. The city's Board of Building Appeals finished hearing testimony Thursday in an appeal requested by New Life. The shelter is also asking for an exemption to continue operating within 500 feet of a school.

The appeal is a follow-up to a December 2014 ruling, when another city board found New Life was a detriment to the neighborhood.

New Life Evangelistic Center, 1411 Locust St. in downtown St. Louis.
Flickr | pasa47

Updated Dec. 9 with city permit denial - St. Louis has denied a request from the New Life Evangelistic Center to be exempted from two city code requirements as it applies for a new occupancy permit for its homeless shelter. Those city codes forbid shelters from being within 500 feet of a school, and require them to get the written support of local business owners and residents.

New Life Evangelistic Center is located in downtown St. Louis.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

The New Life Evangelistic Center in downtown St. Louis has long been at odds with the city over its ability to safely shelter more than a hundred people every night. But a big part of what keeps the shelter afloat has been left out of the debate: its practice of requiring long-term residents to work full time without pay in exchange for room and board. In addition, residents who receive supplemental social security checks for their disabilities are required to donate 40 percent of their income to the church.

Larry Rice, the director of the New Life Evangelistic Center, holds a press conference in a worship area that also serves as an overflow room to accommodate additional people at the shelter.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

A federal judge has ruled that the New Life Evangelistic Center in downtown St. Louis can stay open, until further order from the court.  

City of St. Louis adds more emergency shelter beds

Apr 9, 2015
Gateway 180 at 19th St. and Cole St. provides shelter to more than 100 women and families.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

The city of St. Louis is following through on its goal to open two emergency homeless shelters by mid-April, but a lot of the details are still being worked out.

The men’s shelter is temporarily being housed at the 12th and Park Recreation Center in the LaSalle Park neighborhood.

New Life Evangelistic Center doesn't like to be held to a set capacity for shelter. Administrators say they don't want to turn anyone away.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The city of St. Louis says it will meet an April 12 deadline to open new emergency homeless shelters.

The city announced in February that it was seeking providers who were capable of opening as many as 250 beds by that deadline, either by expanding their existing facilities or by building new ones.

New Life Evangelistic Center director Larry Rice (center) said the emergency homeless shelter will seek an injunction against a city deadline to reduce its overnight beds.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 11:45 p.m. May 28

Rev. Larry Rice, city of St. Louis attorneys and neighborhood stakeholders are continuing with mediation that could allow his homeless shelter downtown to remain open and avoid going to trial this September.

According to a spokeswoman for New Life Evangelistic Center, the parties met for 9 hours on Wednesday in Clayton, but reached no final agreements.

Anthony Knight, left, listens as New Life Shelter Manager Scott Eagen addresses the group. Bob Linsey and Lamont Belle in the backround look on.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

A small group of people, many connected to New Life Evangelistic Center, gathered Saturday for a meeting of the Metro St. Louis Coalition for the Homeless.  The group’s main topic of discussion was what to do now that the city has declared New Life’s emergency shelter a nuisance and given the organization until May to reduce the number of people they serve or shut down.

Protests at Board of Public Service meeting 12-23-14
(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The city's Board of Public Service has ruled that the emergency homeless shelter at the New Life Evangelistic Center is a detriment to the neighborhood and must close in May unless it changes the way it operates.

Tuesday's unanimous vote by the board provoked shouts of "Shame!" and "What would Jesus do!" from a standing-room-only crowd, followed by chants of "homeless lives matter!" Crowd members also accused the board of holding an illegal meeting because they allowed no time for public comment. 

New Life Evangelistic Center doesn't like to be held to a set capacity for shelter. Administrators say they don't want to turn anyone away.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

A two year-long battle over the fate of a downtown St. Louis homeless shelter could come to an end on Tuesday, when a city agency votes on a petition to revoke New Life Evangelistic Center’s hotel license.

Downtown residents and business owners began petitioning to close New Life two years ago, saying that the facility is a detriment to the neighborhood.

Mayor Francis Slay requested that the two sides undergo mediation in October, but New Life founder Rev. Larry Rice said the mediation was not successful.

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