ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – There is more pressure on the Rev. Larry Rice to close the doors on his downtown homeless shelter.

A downtown group of property owners has signed a petition calling for the city to shut down the New Life Evangelistic Center.

KMOX asked Rice why he has to headquarter his homeless services downtown since he owns about thirty acres of land in House Springs, a rural area of Jefferson County.

“The homeless don’t want to go out to the country, they want to be able to have access to the jobs. A lot of them are using the services at St. Patrick’s Center, they’re using the services through the city of St. Louis, because these people want jobs, they want apartments, they want homes,” he said.

A petition with 167 signatures calls for a hearing on the future of New Life before the city’s Board of Public Service, citing drinking, public urination and noise. Rice says he is working with his lawyers to keep his homeless mission downtown open.

“All of the homeless people are associated with me and I don’t know if that’s a compliment or not because we help the people. We just really want to help people and for them to say all the problems in downtown St. Louis are a result of homeless people that stop in and that we help from time to time is absolutely ridiculous,” Rice said.


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