ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A minister once arrested for trying to start a tent city for the homeless says he is returning to the site.
It was May of 2012 when Rev. Larry Rice’s “Integrity Village” on a grassy lot at Interstate 44 and Vandeventer Ave. caused an uproar among neighbors. Rice and three volunteers were arrested for occupying a condemned space.
Now, Rice has won a ruling from a federal court allowing a tent for religious services on the site and he could be bringing members of the homeless community with him.
“Whether that is part of our functional worship remains to be seen but we are definitely going to go out there and set up a big tent,” the reverend says. “If I go out there and preach around the clock and people join me and others happen to go asleep under the big tent, well, it happens every Sunday.”
Rice says he will pitch that tent sometime this week.
“We’ll have a chance to go out there and continue our worship activities because they violated our rights,” he added.
St. Louis city officials say Rice has not received authority to set up tents for the homeless to live at the site. Rice calls the judge’s ruling “preliminary” and is awaiting a final order.
Video of Rev. Rice’s arrest last year is below.