City orders Larry Rice to shut down homeless shelter; what comes -

City orders Larry Rice to shut down homeless shelter; what comes next?

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( - There are new concerns that hundreds of homeless people could be on the streets of St. Louis at night because the city ordered Larry Rice to shut down his homeless shelter on April 1.

"Come April 1 we're definitely going to be open, we're gonna do whatever we have to do to be open," said Rice, director of the New Life Evangelistic Center.

In a statement to New s4, a city spokesperson said:

Every use of a building in the City requires an occupancy permit. NLEC has no occupancy permits for its building at 1411, but it continues to operate an unlawful homeless shelter and a television studio, among other things, at the property.  NLEC applied for occupancy permits in July 2015, but was content to let the applications sit stagnant until the city issued its cease and desist order in November 2016.  During the Board of Building Appeals proceeding, it was apparent that NLEC has made little progress toward remedying the many building code violation citations that were issued in 2015 for health and safety reasons. It was also apparent that NLEC made very little effort to pursue its occupancy permit applications.  NLEC's refusal to seek permits that are required from all other entities operating in the city, including churches and shelters, left the building commissioner no choice but to issue the cease and desist order.

Rice claims he's applied for permits, but they've been denied. He said they will be appealing and if necessary, take it to the Supreme Court because "we're dealing with people who literally have nowhere else to go."

Below is a document presented by the city detailing the timeline of the NLEC and what the process entails for the future.

Eric Feeler has worked downtown on Washington Avenue for ten years and said he's noticed more homeless people on the streets.

"It seems like now every other corner you've got someone panhandling in the morning when you come in and seems like every other day when I walk on the streets someone’s asking me for change," said Feeler.

Closing the shelter could put 200 more people on the streets. Something Nathan Cromwell, a downtown resident, said is upsetting.

"It's like the city has turned their back on the homeless, they're not wanting to help Larry Rice do what he does," said Cromwell.

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