ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A downtown homeless shelter facing possible shutdown is asking a circuit court judge to intervene.

Rev. Larry Rice of the New Life Evangelistic Center is turning to the courts for help after city officials told him he needs signatures showing neighborhood support for his homeless shelter before he can get an occupancy permit.

“This is because we’re located in a neighborhood that they want to gentrify and they want the homeless out of sight and out of mind. But these people are not cattle. They’re not animals to be moved from place to place,” Rice says.

City Hall revoked the New Life Center’s occupancy permit after it ruled the facility is a “nuisance property” because of complaints of crime, loitering and public urination in the area.

Rice says the order is not fair to the more than 150 homeless a night who stay at the New Life Center in the 1400 block of Locust Street. “There’s no reason to make them be uprooted and move to another neighborhood, and then once they gentrify that neighborhood, push them to another. These are human beings with no where else to go.”

Rice claims the city is making his shelter get signatures while other homeless shelters aren’t held to the same standard.

The case will be before a circuit court judge Friday.

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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