ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Neighbors south of downtown are complaining about limited access to a city recreation center, which for the last month has been used as an emergency homeless shelter.

State Representative Bruce Franks says it’s not good that the 12th and Park rec center has been restricted to kids who need a place to hang out.

“A lot of times when I was growing up, not too far away, that’s what kept us out of trouble. We’re taking resources away from kids in this community, so it’s a double negative,” he says.

Franks says that’s not fair to the neighborhood, and he wishes the homeless were more spread out across the city.

“What if we had empowerment centers spread out across the different wards where we had wrap-around services and adequate living. Not just shelters, not just cots, but actual adequate living,” he says.

The city’s homeless director Eddie Roth says only the first floor gym is being used for the homeless, about 70 women and some children. Residents can still use the upstairs gym, the swimming pool and boxing ring. Come May 26, Roth says the homeless will out and the center will return to the neighborhood, just in time for the start of the summer.

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