Rice Claims City Preparing To Shut Down Homeless Shelter

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR)-- The battle over the homeless heats up downtown. Reverend Larry Rice says the city plans to close his shelter and warns the homeless will soon be sleeping on sidewalks across downtown.

Reverend Rice was complaining that the city shut sidewalks near his shelter. FOX 2 asked if we could go inside since he claims the shelter is safe, sanitary, and building codes are met.  

And so we did starting out in the elevator that was original equipment when the building was a YWCA in 1911.

First stop, a clean well-lighted 15 bed room used by women with children.  Another nearby room is for women without children.

The bathrooms were clean and in good repair. We only found one urinal out of order.

Security cameras were on each floor. Some ceiling paint was peeling in the 5th floor area housing over 100 men. But that was the biggest interior problem we saw.

From what we've seen in this shelter so far, the toilets work, there are fire alarms, there are smoke alarms, the electric fixtures seem to be in good shape. If the city of St. Louis ever tries to shut this place down, it's probably going to have to do it as a so-called nuisance property.

And the city claims its efforts now are limited to the sidewalk, not to shut Larry Rice down.

Rice meanwhile warns the homeless will end up sleeping on other sidewalks across downtown, not just in front of his shelter.