New Life Evangelistic Center

An advocate for the homeless is pressing for Belleville voters to decide whether he can convert the city's former YMCA building into a shelter. The Rev. Larry Rice on Monday submitted a 790-signature petition to the St. Clair County Clerk's Office to force the ballot measure calling for the city to sell the property to his New Life Evangelistic Center in St. Louis for $1.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports the referendum could be on the April 9 municipal ballot if the petitions aren't challenged by Monday.

New Life Evangelistic Center, 1411 Locust St. in downtown St. Louis.
via Flickr | pasa 47.

Reverend Larry Rice says he is tired of waiting for the city to remove barriers that have surrounded his homeless shelter in downtown St. Louis for the past five weeks.

Sidewalks on both sides of Locust Street in front of New Life Evangelistic Center are blocked off by metal barriers. Bill Seidhoff, the director of the city’s department of human services, said the city placed the barriers there after receiving calls from residents who were concerned about hygiene and safety because of the homeless people who congregate and sleep around the center.

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.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slays says Rev. Larry Rice’s plan to host a homeless camp on Vandeventer Ave.  north of Interstate 44 is a bad idea. 

Speaking today on "St. Louis on the Air," Slay said he’s concerned about the same safety and health problems that plagued the tent cities by the Mississippi riverfront.

“If they’re on the property without the proper permits – the occupancy permits and other things under the zoning laws – they will be asked to leave and if they continue to violate the law people will be moved,” he said.

New Life Evangelistic Center, 1411 Locust St. in downtown St. Louis.
via Flickr | pasa 47.

The parents of 21-year-old Jeremy Dunlap say that there was not ample protection at the New Life Evangelistic Center to prevent their son's stabbing death in 2008. Tammy Church and Eric Dunlap filed separate wrongful death suits against the center today in St. Louis Circuit Court, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Though both lawsuits involve wrongful death, the specifics of each are slightly different.

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