ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR)- After a year of hearings, the St. Louis’ Board of Public Service announced that they Reverend Larry Rice will be allowed to continue operating his New Life Evangelistic Center as a homeless shelter for now. The shelter's license will be revoked in May unless it makes changes.
The board's Tuesday ruling states that the New Life Evangelistic Center's shelter will close effective May 12 unless it complies with regulations.
The shelter sits right near the Washington Avenue Loft District, restored Central Library, and a number of upscale businesses. Developers and some residents say the overcrowded shelter is a detriment to the neighborhood. Last year, a police officer said he's seen fights and drug deals at the site and a woman testified she was assaulted by someone staying at the shelter.
Rev. Larry Rice allows more than 300 people to stay at his shelter. But, his occupancy permit only allows a maximum of 32 beds. Meanwhile, since Rice opened the shelter in the 1970s, the area has seen a lot of new development and gentrification.