ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - City of St. Louis officials Friday announced that new rules have been established for homeless encampments along the Mississippi riverfront.
“Services and shelter are available for homeless people,” said Human Services Director Bill Siedhoff. “Services provided by qualified people are much more effective and much more humane than an encampment — especially for homeless people who might be addicted to drugs or alcohol, or who have mental disorders.”
City leaders have taken the position that it will allow the encampments to stay as long as the people living there don’t bother or hurt themselves or others, and public safety is not jeopardized.
The city’s new rules for the homeless include:
- No drugs or criminal activity
- No drunkenness
- People living in the encampments must cooperate with police, the city health department, and the fire department at all times
- They must keep the area clean and free from hazards
For their part, city officials say they’re making plans to protect safety in homeless communities:
- The fire department is pre-planning so it can respond to a fire or other emergency
- The Human Services Department is going to do a census count to help the fire department plan for an emergency
- The Health Department will regularly inspect the encampment
“We are going to allow the people there to use legal sources of energy to stay warm,” said city fire chief Dennis Jenkerson. “If they use propane or build a fire in a resopnsible way, no one will get hurt. But if they use propane or build an open fire while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, someone could get hurt.”
As in the past, city officials say they’ll reserve the right to dismantle the encampments if residents don’t follow these rules.
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