South City residents distressed over possibility of homeless shelter in their neighborhood

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – A downtown homeless shelter is closed this afternoon after 40 years.

The New Life Evangelistic Center met a Sunday deadline to be out of the building at 14th and Locust.

The city accused new life of code violations and ordered it to close.  Supporters of the shelter went to court to try and reverse the decision.

The case is expected in court on Wednesday.

There are worries from one south city neighborhood that the closure means that shelter residents have moved into their neighborhood.

A resident who lives in the neighborhood near Michigan and Dover says he and his neighbors are worried that homeless people may be moving into two homes owned by the Reverend Larry Rice.

But the New Life Evangelistic Center says that it not the case.

People were seen going in and out of a duplex and a two-story home next door in the 5800 block of Michigan Avenue.  Residents in the area are worried about the situation.

As for Larry Rice, he’s been unavailable and has not made any comments to residents or the media.

People in the homes say they are staff members of the New Life Evangelistic Center and will be living in these two residences.  They said staff members had lived at the downtown shelter until they were forced out with the homeless people.  A resident of the neighborhood who contacted Fox 2 said he saw people moving in on Friday and they brought in a portable toilet and set it up in alley near his home.

New Life Evangelistic Center staff member say the porta-potty is there because one of the bathrooms was out of order because of a plumbing problem.

The staff members say they will be working to coordinate outreach services from this location.

The say no homeless residents will be staying at these two homes owned by Reverend Larry Rice.