Taxpayers shelled out nearly $500K to expand services for the homeless in the City of St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS - The You Paid For It Team had questions for Mayor Lyda Krewson’s administration, whether the city made a mistake shutting down the New Life Evangelistic Center homeless shelter. It was a bad deal for taxpayers.

According to Todd Waelterman, director of operations for the mayor's office, closing the shelter was the right thing to do.

The shelter was closed in April after a legal battle between Mayor Francis Slay's office and the homeless shelter over building violations.  The city went to court and won the right to force New Life to close its doors

The move cost taxpayers plenty to enlarge the city's Biddle House homeless shelter, as well as other costs to care for the additional homeless population. Up to 150 people had to find a new place to go after the New Life Evangelistic Center was shut down.

According to a Freedom of Information Act request, that tab came to around $498,000.

Waelterman said questioned the quality of the services rendered by New Life when it was opened. But Reverend Larry Rice, the man behind the New Life Evangelistic Center, defended the homeless shelter. He said the situation has been worse for the homeless since the closing of New Life. He said the homeless now have fewer places to go on an emergency basis.

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