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Feds Delay Homeless Shelter Decision

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By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – The Rev. Larry Rice will have to wait at least another two weeks to find out whether he'll be able to turn a downtown federal building into the area's largest homeless shelter.

Federal officials had been scheduled to make a decision on the Abram Federal Building Friday.

But Rev. Ray Redlich, the New Life Evangelistic Center's assistant director, says they're delaying it.

"There are two different agencies that are involved with this, the General Services Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services," Redlich said. "And as I understand it, HHS is the agency that actually makes the decision, but they had to ask GSA for an extension."

A Reagan-era federal law gives homeless organizations dibs on surplus federal property.

But city leaders and developer Don Breckenridge say they need to turn the Abram building into a parking garage as part of a plan to reopen the Kiel Opera House across the street.

They've offered to help Rice find another building, but Rice does not want to negotiate.

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