Community upset over homeless housing at rec center south of dow - KMOV.com

Community upset over homeless housing at rec center south of downtown

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Parents and children are upset with the city of St. Louis after being kicked out of a facility used for after school activities. (Credit: KMOV) Parents and children are upset with the city of St. Louis after being kicked out of a facility used for after school activities. (Credit: KMOV)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Parents and children are upset with the city of St. Louis after being kicked out of a facility used for after school activities.

The 12th and Park Recreation Center just south of downtown is being used as temporary housing for homeless women, putting programs for kids at stake.

"It just hurts to see that all that we do, all the work that we've done just come to a brick wall," said Ovaloretta Harris.

For more than 20 years Harris has served as the director and choreographer of the "C.A.P.A. Showstoppers," a dance team for area children ages 5 to 17.

The team typically practices in the 12th and Park Rec Center's multipurpose room, but now, the facility is housing nearly 45 homeless women and children.

As for the "C.A.P.A. Showstoppers," they're practicing outside the rec center, sometimes cutting their meetings short because of inclement weather.

"Why take from kids?" asked Harris. "There's too many buildings out here. Way, way too many buildings."

The team even protested in front of the facility last Friday.

"That's all we know is the 12th and Park Center," said Kianna Finger

Finger is a mother of two girls on the team and a former member herself. She considers the rec center a safe haven for the kids.

"It's kind of messed up that they don't have anywhere to practice, nowhere to go for after school programs, somewhere to keep them out of trouble." said Finger.

The St. Louis City Department of Human Services told News 4 they "understand the hardship" and have already begun the process of moving women into the regular shelter system. The city hopes this is done by May 25, the last day of school.

"We're hoping that they figure something out where the kids are not left out," said Finger "It's about to be summertime and they need something other than the streets."

On Tuesday, News 4 learned the kids will be able to use nearby Kingdom House.

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