Hopeville demise was inevitable - KMOV.com

Hopeville demise was inevitable

It's hard for me to imagine how an abandoned underground tunnel becomes someone's home.  It's sad.  But today is even more sad for some of the 70 or so people who pitched tents down there and made a life, if you can call it that.

They have to be out by Friday morning so the city can move ahead with improvements to Tucker Boulevard above.

One guy, an air force veteran told us he'll see if his ex-girlfriend in St. Charles will let him stay in her trailer a little while.

I also met a young woman who says she's lived in "Hopeville" for a year and found the place to be safe with a family-like atmosphere with people looking out for one another.  For now, she'll seek refuge at the New Life Evangelistic Center.

Ironically it's the center's director, Rev. Larry Rice for whom the city blames for making Hopeville, Hopeville.  Bill Siedhoff, the Human Services Director says Rice has encouraged and directed people from his shelter to the tent city.

I couldn't find Rev. Rice today.  He was out of town.  But one of his closest volunteers Larry Berry told me Hopeville WAS safe and now that it's being taken away, we can expect many more Hopeville's to pop up.

The city is trying to make homelessness a memory over the next decade... Seems progress isn't coming along to swiftly. 

Mark Schnyder is a reporter at KMOV-TV.  He can be reached at MSchnyder@kmov.com.

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