Rec Center Serves as Temp Homeless Shelter; Kids’ Classes on Hold

Maria Keena (@kmoxmaria)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Now that New Life Evangelistic Center’s doors are closed to the homeless, it’s having an unforeseen effect on dozens of children that use the 12th and Park Recreation Center in LaSalle Park.

Related Story: Homeless Arrested Near Main Library

Homeless women are being housed at the rec center, which now looks like a shelter more than a recreational complex.

State Senator Jamillah Nasheed is asking for state agencies, like the Mental Health Department and Social Services, for intervention. She also spoke Tuesday with Gov. Eric Greitens.

Forty to 60 children are affected — Nasheed says now, area children can’t attend their after-school programs at the center.

“They are no longer able to go to dance classes; they’re no longer able to get the tutoring that they need, as a result of the decision that was made by the (Slay) administration to make that a homeless shelter,” she says.

Nasheed adds that 12th and Park was not designed to be a homeless shelter. As a child, she spent time at the facility and points out how important it was to have a safe haven.

The facility advised Nasheed that the youth should be back in the rec center sometime in June. However, it still isn’t clear where the children will go for activities leading up to June.

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