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Is a "tent city" the answer for the homeless?

by Erica Byfield

KMOV.com

Posted on May 3, 2010 at 8:28 PM

Updated Monday, May 3 at 10:37 PM

There is a battle brewing in St. Louis about how to handle the homeless problem.  On one hand, some people say we have to try to get them in permanent housing right away, and on the other some suggest creating a tent city as a temporary solution.

What do you think?

This debate it getting a lot of attention this week.  Today, Rev. Larry Rice with the New Life Evangelist Center staged a protest from “Hopeville”, a homeless community under the Tucker Street Bridge to city hall.  Rice is in favor of the tent city.  He says it is far safer to have the homeless living together in a centralized location.  Rice is asking the City of St. Louis to donate an acre of land to the homeless to establish the tent city.

A city spokesperson tells me that is not the way to deal with the city’s homeless issue.  Instead, city leaders would prefer to get the homeless in permanent housing as quickly as possible.

Each year the City of St. Louis spends 8 million dollars on the homeless.  The majority of the money is federal dollars (94%), city tax payers pick up the rest (6%). 

What should St. Louis do?

Tomorrow, leaders of several other agencies who assist the homeless will hold a press conference to publicly say they are against forming a tent city in St. Louis.  They’ll address the press at 2 pm at the Rosati Apartments lobby.

 

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