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Minister wants hangar for homeless

Larry Rice
File photo
Rev. Larry Rice.

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – St. Louis minister Larry Rice is calling on the city to allow him to use a converted aircraft hangar as a homeless shelter.

The city closed the Lambert Airport facility this week after learning hundreds of hurricane evacuees would not be sent there.

Rice says his downtown center is brimming over with homeless women and children who can't otherwise get night time shelter.

He says he's amazed that city officials didn't consider this population when it became clear Katrina evacuees were not coming to the Lambert Airport hangar:

"And I believe it's wrong to discriminate against the homeless that have
experienced their own personal hurricanes of a different nature in their life and
say, you're from St. Louis; we can't help you, so we're going to keep you out, Rice said.

Mayor's chief of staff Jeff Rainford says Rice's intent is misdirected:

"For about one nanosecond, maybe less than a nanosecond, we thought about actually offering it to Reverend Rice if he had $6 million to fix it up and if he had $500,000 a month for the utilities, Rainford said. We would prefer that he use that money to fix up the place over on Locust, which to be kind is substandard.

Rainford says the hangar was only designed as a makeshift facility, and that long-term usage is too cost prohibitive.


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