Kevin Killeen

ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–With cold weather here to stay, a homeless advocate accuses St. Louis County politicians of failing make good on a promise to provide shelter for the homeless by late fall.

The Reverend Larry Rice of the New Life Evangelistic Center says 25 percent of the downtown homeless are coming from St. Louis County, and he plans to stage a civil disobedience “sit-in” on Christmas Eve in the office of County Executive Charlie Dooley.

“I’m very deeply disappointed in our county executive and his top aide Mike Jones on promises they made last August that they were going to have open at this time a walk-in, emergency shelter,” Rice said. “And in October they were going to call together the clergy to try to get their churches open to the homeless in St. Louis county. None of that has happened.”

Larry Rice planning a Christmas Eve protest

Larry Rice planning a Christmas Eve protest

Jones tells KMOX he failed to meet the deadline set back in August for opening a homeless shelter in the county, because of challenges identifying a site. Right now, he says, there is a short list of possible buildings — where he won’t say — and Jones hopes to find a provider that could run a homeless shelter funded by federal grants.

“We’re not going to get into the business of caring for the homeless,” Jones said.

Jones says he hopes to have the shelter open by April 2013.

Rice plans to show up at the county government building on Christmas Eve morning to “move into the County Executives office” at 11:00 a.m..

“I’m not looking for mass arrests,” Rice said, “I hope they will come out and show the moral leadership to say we will open this shelter as we promised in August.”

Copyright KMOX


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