After two years of hearings on complaints of homeless loitering, crime and urination, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s Board of Public Service voted to shut down the Rev. Larry Rice’s New Life Evangelistic Center.
Many homeless say if the center is shut down, they will not leave the area.
Last month, St. Louis postponed a decision on whether to shut down the New Life Evangelistic Center for the homeless following months of testimony from nearby residents who complained of loud noise, fights and public urination.
It could be next month before the St. Louis Board of Public Service makes a decision on revoking New Life Evangelistic Center’s hotel license. A determination hearing, scheduled for today, has been postponed by the board to review all the legal documents.
On July 22, the city’s Board of Public Service is expected to deliberate and vote on the New Life Evangelistic Center’s permit.
Another hearing will be held in City Hall over the City of St. Louis revoking New Life Evangelistic Center’s license.
In testimony today, Rice will seek to blame downtown’s homeless problem on the negligence of surrounding communities.
“We have people who have homes, who have condominiums, that file petitions, that want to take away our right to shelter people here”
“You can own your own building but if you own it and try to sleep on it, you get arrested. You sleep on the sidewalk, you get arrested.”
“We will be taking this to court where we can contest if we really need a permit for a hotel. We’re a church after all,” he said.