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Slay Says He'll Help Rice Find New Shelter Site

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Rice wants to lease the Abram building and turn it into a homeless services center.

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is offering to help homeless advocate Larry Rice find another place to expand his shelter.

Rice hopes the U.S. Government will let him take over the Abram Federal Building downtown. But Slay and a developer want to put a parking garage on the site for the nearby Kiel Opera House.

Slay says Rice needs to cooperate with other homeless organizations in the region.

"Reverend Rice is considered to be a maverick," Slay said. "He has been highly critical of his neighbors, other providers, and the office of the mayor. He's not part of the continuum of care network that helps us coordinate our services."

But Debi Anderson, with Rice's New Life Evangelistic Center, says it's too late to change plans.

"We keep hearing that city leaders are going to do things," Anderson said. "Nothing specific has ever been proposed. Specific locations have never been proposed."

Department of Health and Human Services officials could decide by March 12 whether Rice's plan for the federal building is viable.

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