Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Gift to St. Louis' Homeless; NLEC Decision; Shelter's Future Is Largely Up to Rev. Rice

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Gift to St. Louis' Homeless; NLEC Decision; Shelter's Future Is Largely Up to Rev. Rice

Article excerpt

I am glad Bill McClellan seeks to draw attention to the plight of the homeless, and that he devoted his Sunday-after-Christmas column to what he sees as the politics of homelessness in St. Louis ("Be careful what you wish for on homeless," Dec. 28).

But let's understand a couple of facts.

When Rev. Larry Rice, co-founder of the New Life Evangelistic Center, first came to public prominence, he was one of a number of advocates who urged the city to better provide for the homeless. Much has happened over the decades since. Today, the city of St. Louis is the region's undisputed champion of homeless rights and hospitality. It stands at the center of a caring, highly accomplished coalition with members helping members steadily achieve higher standards of service for the homeless.

The city of St. Louis, each year, devotes more than $10 million in federal funding and more than $4 million in local resources through the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, mainly to support nonprofit and faith-based enterprises that serve the homeless and help prevent people from losing their homes.

St. Louis has dozens of facilities in all parts of the city that provide for the needs of homeless men and women, as well as people at risk of becoming homeless. The agencies, organizations and churches that operate these facilities supply more than 1,200 beds of emergency shelter and transitional housing. They hire professional staff to help people with complex needs, such as treatment for mental illness and substance abuse. They work together to keep people safe and to treat them with dignity.

They work to move clients to permanent housing. They provide exemplary service while maintaining good relations and solid reputations in the neighborhoods in which they are situated. They have had no trouble following the law.

They help thousands of people achieve stability in their lives. …

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