Kevin Killeen

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KMOX) –  The Rev. Larry Rice is making a trip across the Mississippi River Thursday morning.

He’ll be in Belleville where he plans to call on city leaders there to do more to help the homeless.

Belleville mayor Mark Eckert is preparing for the homeless advocate’s arrival, but he won’t be rolling out any red carpets.

“Well, I’m disappointed that Larry Rice once again has not called to set up the meeting that I’ve asked him now on several occasions over several months,” Eckert told KMOX News.

The mayor went on to point out that Belleville taxpayers don’t have an extra $4 million laying around to renovate the old YMCA building and convert it into a homeless shelter.

As for Rice’s oft-repeated claim that many homeless persons from the Metro East are crowding shelters in St. Louis?

“If you would talk to the people who deal with the homeless every day they would tell you that seventy-five percent of the people that we see on this side of the river are from St. Louis,” Eckert claimed.

Eckert did add that he and local clergy members will sit down with Rice upon his arrival to explain to him exactly what they are doing to help the homeless population in Belleville.


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