ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The extreme cold is taking its toll on a homeless camp set up next to the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.
When KMOX News last visited just before New Year’s Day, there were more than two dozen residents in the tent city.
How many of those are still calling the tent city home as of Feb. 19?
“Let me think, let me think,” insists a man who will only give his name as Hardware. “Two – four – uh, five – seven. Yeah, we’re down to just seven.”
Many of the former residents, facing the prospect of trying to ride out the brutal cold temperatures in nothing more than a tent, took the city up on its offer to spend the night at the city’s cold weather overflow shelter at 12th and Park downtown.
Hardware says he inherited his unofficial title as “mayor” of the tent city when the man who spoke with KMOX News over the holidays, Chad Bergman, was taken into police custody on outstanding warrants.
That’s when another male resident pokes his head out of a nearby tent and angrily shouts to the reporter that “every time y’all do stories we get messed with (by police).”
KMOX News spoke with Eddie Roth, director of Human Services for the city of St. Louis last month about the situation.
“It’s not a way to live,” he said, referring to the tent city and vowing to start a push to get occupants of the homeless camp moving along. “There’s no future for people who live in tent encampments.”
Roth did not mention a timeline for that effort.
Hardware, for one, remains defiant.
“I think I heard on the wind that they were trying to run us out of here again,” he says. “I don’t care. I’m not goin’ nowhere.”
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