City of St. Louis revokes homeless shelter’s permit, alderwoman to introduce legislation

Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 10:15 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The City of St. Louis revoked the permit of a homeless shelter that closed down in 2017, but plans are in the works to address the homeless issue, according to elected officials.

On Friday, the Board of Building Appeals unanimously revoked the New Life Evangelistic Center’s permit because of the conditions before and after the shelter closed at Locust Street and 14th Street.

In early 2017 the center closed after losing a court battle over various safety code violations. Since closing, Reverend Larry Rice told First Alert 4 the building has been cleaned up.

Documents regarding the closure cited how the area around the shelter has improved since the closing of the shelter.

Before the decision to revoke NLEC’s permit, Rev. Rice helped organize a protest on the lawn of the city hall. Dozens of tents with homeless people have been on city hall’s property for weeks.

Several alderpersons with the City of St. Louis addressed the homelessness issue in a press conference after a Board of Aldermen meeting Friday. Alderwoman Alisha Sonnier said she plans to introduce legislation Monday.

“Alderwoman Sonnier is getting ready to introduce legislation that would create a homeless bill of rights and also a zoning change to make it easier to open shelters in the city,” Aldermanic president Megan Green said.

“I think it is good for us to see,” Sonnier told reporters. “If we don’t create places for them to go, then they will create places for themselves and it will look like what we see outside of city hall.”

“We see the encampment. There’s a need for shelter as well as a need for day services,” said Kathy Connors, the executive director for Gateway 180, a housing shelter in St. Louis. “So, at the time in 2017 when they [NLEC] closed we were a 110-bed shelter. In response to their closing, we added 52 additional beds.”

Alderwoman Sonnier, alongside Board of Aldermen President Green and joined by Peter & Paul Community Services Center Director Teri Dunn, will announce the introduction of a slate of legislation to support unhoused residents in the city of St. Louis at 10 a.m. Monday at Peter & Paul Community Services Soulard Shelter at 711 Allen Street in St. Louis.