HOPEVILLE, MO–(KMOX)–To the roar of diesel engines, and the sound of Bobcats crunching plywood shacks, a tent city for the homeless north of downtown is demolished by the city of St. Louis, after frustrations with fights, fires — even a murder there.
Looking on with memories of better times there, one former resident of Hopeville, who identified herself as “Tank,” says letting the homeless all hang out together was a good idea, but it ran into people problems.
“Too many chiefs and not enough Indians,” Tank said, “and in a lot of situations, that’s what you run into. Everybody wants to be a boss. Nobody wants to be a follower.”
The city’s director of human services Bill Siedhoff says the last 25 occupants of Hopeville have been relocated — half in apartments, half in a motel near Hanley and Interstate 270 n St. Louis County.
Last week, the city demolished a nearby squatter’s village of ten shacks called “Dignity Harbor” after relocating its residents.
Next week, the city plans to remove the final riverfront homeless encampment called “Sparta.”
Siedhoff says the city opposes plans by a minister to the homeless, the Reverend Larry Rice, to establish a new tent city for the homeless on two acres of leased ground on Vandeventer north of Interstate 44.
Rice is planning a news conference for Monday morning to dedicate the land, and explain why he believes it’s more cost efficient for taxpayers to let the homeless live somewhere on their own.