ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - One of the area's best known homeless advocates is set to pick a fight with city hall Monday morning. The Reverend Larry Rice and his group are planning to open a homeless camp along Interstate 44, though city lawmakers have said, 'no.'
The two acre-spot at Vandeventer and I-44 will be dedicated as "Dignity Village" Monday morning, despite strong opposition from the city. This move, which they plan to officially announce at 10:30 a.m., comes just as the city is finishing the demolition of a number of similar encampments along the riverfront north of downtown.
City officials call the "Hopeville" situation a badly failed experiment. They say their use of federal money to put those evicted into permanent homes is a far more effective way of dealing with the homeless problem here. But the New Life Evangelistic Center says the city is grossly underestimating the problem and under-serving the homeless community.
It's shaping up into a court battle with the city vowing to stop the tent city and New Life promising to fight on Freedom of Religion grounds. New Life says it plans to have tents up in 30 days.