ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – There’s nothing to stop Saturday’s city-ordered shutdown of the New Life Evangelistic Center after a judge refused to intervene.
Judge Joan Moriarty declined to issue a stay, letting stand an order from St. Louis City Hall that the longtime homeless shelter cease operations April 1.
The Rev. Larry Rice says he will appeal the city’s order, but admits the legal fight could take years. At issue in the dispute has been whether the New Life center at 1411 Locust has become a “nuisance property” unworthy of a city occupancy permit.
Rice maintains the city’s shutdown order violates the center’s Constitutional rights as a religious organization, but that fight will have to play out in court after the shutdown.
Workers scurried about the halls of the shelter Thursday carrying out bookcases, desks and copy machines — the workings of the organization’s administrative staff, which will be moved to a site in Overland.
Rice says the Saturday closure means some 200 homeless he shelters nightly will be out on the street, but the Slay Administration has promised to find temporary shelter for them.
An independent candidate for city mayor in Tuesday’s election, Rice says he will “live on the streets” and “sleep on the sidewalk” outside his shelter between the shutdown and election day.
Rice says the Saturday shutdown will also stop him from producing local programing for his TV station on site, Channel 24. Rice says the station will remain on air with pre-recorded programing until a new studio can be set up somewhere.