Opinion: Larry Rice Should Not Reopen Homeless Shelter

 

 As a resident of the City of St. Louis for 28+ years I’ve interacted with homeless persons on many occasions, mostly in the last 11 years (as of next month) I’ve lived downtown. I’ve talked to many, bought beverages/food for some, and two have been to my loft for a …

Sidewalk Cleaning Is Important, Yet Not All Do It

 

 For nearly fourteen years now I’ve posted about many topics, often minor & obscure in nature. The little things, however, can also be important. First impressions can be lasting. Often conventioneers stay across the street in the Marriott St. Louis Grand hotel. They power wash their sidewalk along Washington Ave …

Sunday Poll: Should Larry Rice Be Allowed To Reopen His Homeless Shelter?

 

 Last month a 2nd court ruled against Larry Rice and his downtown homeless shelter: The Missouri Court of Appeals upholds a lower court ruling that found the city of St. Louis acted properly when it shut down the New Life Evangelistic Center homeless mission in April of 2017. The center’s director, …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 19 of 2018-2019 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 19th meeting of the 2018-2019 session. Today’s agenda includes nine (9) new bills: B.B.#129 – Williamson – An Ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission, to change the zoning of property as indicated onthe District Map, from “D” Multiple-Family Dwelling District …

Recent Articles:

Opinion: Larry Rice Should Not Reopen Homeless Shelter

October 17, 2018 Downtown, Featured, Homeless Comments Off on Opinion: Larry Rice Should Not Reopen Homeless Shelter
 

As a resident of the City of St. Louis for 28+ years I’ve interacted with homeless persons on many occasions, mostly in the last 11 years (as of next month) I’ve lived downtown. I’ve talked to many, bought beverages/food for some, and two have been to my loft for a shower and meal.

The city’s Board of Adjustment ruled NLEC is a nuisance, and two court rulings since have confirmed the city acted properly.

I’m no social worker, but this is a subject that has held my interest for a very long time. There are five main causes of homelessness:

When Housing is Out of Reach More than at any other time, there is a lack of housing that low income people can afford. Without housing options, people face eviction, instability and homelessness. Income and Housing Affordability Low income households often do not earn enough to pay for food, clothing, transportation and a place they can call home. Connecting Homelessness and Health Health and homelessness are inextricably linked. Health problems can cause a person’s homelessness as well as be exacerbated by the experience. Housing is key to addressing the health needs of people experiencing homelessness. Escaping Violence Many survivors of domestic violence become homeless when leaving an abusive relationship. Impact of Racial Disparities Most minority groups in the United States experience homelessness at higher rates than Whites, and therefore make up a disproportionate share of the homeless population.

For years shelters required people to not be under the influence of alcohol or other substances to receive any services. Faith-based shelters often also required participation in their worship activities. This meant many would be turned away or they wouldn’t even bother going. It’s nearly impossible for those with mental health issues or addictions to address those without a safe place to sleep at night.

Aware of how service providers cobbled together a system that unintentionally victimized the people it aimed to help, Sam Tsemberis, PhD, in the 1990s developed a model known as Housing First. Its goal is to quickly provide safe, affordable, permanent housing quickly to people who are experiencing homelessness, particularly, although not solely, those with chronic homelessness and co-occurring conditions such as mental illness or substance use disorders. Housing First programs require few or no preconditions, such as participation in mental health or substance use disorder treatment, from the people they serve. In addition to permanent housing, Housing First programs provide a wide range of wraparound services that are readily available to participants and offered assertively, but not required. Studies show that that when people experiencing homelessness are given safe, stable, affordable housing, they are better able to address other problems and needs in their lives, such as substance use disorders and mental illness. As a result, homelessness, frequent use of hospital emergency departments, and psychiatric hospitalizations are reduced. (Social Work Today)

Of course, Housing First doesn’t work for everyone, but expecting those with substance abuse problems to suddenly stop while living on the streets is unrealistic.  Sorry, prayer won’t change their behavior on the streets.

Larry Rice doesn’t want the homeless housed so they can get treatment and their lives in order. He counts on people donating to help the cause. That’s his business model. From what I gather, he personally lives modestly — good. So do many of the people sending him money.

Last year Rice sold his TV station, channel 24, for a tidy sum:

According to filings with the Federal Communication Commission, TV-49 Inc. will pay $3.75 million to buy the independent station from Rice’s nonprofit New Life Evangelistic Center Inc. The station has broadcast secular programming, liberally interspersed with Rice’s religious sermons and calls to social activism, since it first hit the airwaves on Sept. 12, 1982. The sale does not include Rice’s property at 1411 Locust Street in downtown St. Louis — a building that had been used as a homeless shelter for years until it was closed in April by St. Louis city officials. (Post-Dispatch)

KNLC’s is now part of Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting, channel 24.1 is the new MeTV affiliate.  Their 24.2 does still broadcast Rice’s religious programming.

Here are the results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: Larry Rice should be allowed to reopen 1411 Locust as a day shelter for the homeless.

  • Strongly agree: 6 [14.63%]
  • Agree: 2 [4.88%]
  • Somewhat agree: 3 [7.32%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 2 [4.88%]
  • Disagree: 8 [19.51%]
  • Strongly disagree: 20 [48.78%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

Back to the two previously homeless individuals that have been in my loft. The first, ‘FC’, ceased being homeless 10 years ago today. That’s the day I let him begin staying in my previous residence — a corner storefront building in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood. This arrangement helped both of us — a safe place for him and someone there to keep the property safe from vandals/thieves. FC lived there for a couple of years — the new owners allowed him to stay a while after I sold it.  He’s since gotten married, he and his wife bought a home together a few years ago.

FC is older than I am, but the other, DT, is roughly half my age. In 2016 I helped him get out of St. Louis so he could return to his family in Washington state. Both made some bad decisions in life, both were addicted to narcotics.

Remember, many homeless receive VA or disability income, work, etc. There are people on the streets that look homeless, their “job” is to take advantage of those who are homeless. It’s important to keep the homeless separated from those who prey on them. That includes the religious.

— Steve Patterson

Sidewalk Cleaning Is Important, Yet Not All Do It

October 15, 2018 Downtown, Featured Comments Off on Sidewalk Cleaning Is Important, Yet Not All Do It
 

For nearly fourteen years now I’ve posted about many topics, often minor & obscure in nature. The little things, however, can also be important. First impressions can be lasting.

Our convention center entrance on Washington Ave is at 8th Street.

Often conventioneers stay across the street in the Marriott St. Louis Grand hotel. They power wash their sidewalk along Washington Ave weekly. I know because I see them doing it on my way to the YMCA. Also, I asked the last worker I saw how often it’s done.

Looking West from 8th, you can see the sidewalk is wet from just being cleaned
Equipment used to power wash the sidewalk.

It always looks great, they do a wonderful job! I can’t say the same about the other side of 8th.

Immediately East of 8th the sidewalk is always dirty, even after a hard rain.
Close to the building you see bird waste that has been there for at least months.
Around the corner, along 8th, it’s worse.

This is part of the entire block controlled by US Bank. Visitors to our convention center likely see this filth. While the Marriott to the West of 8th does an excellent job, US Bank fails at keeping their sidewalks presentable.

More examples.

The Ely Walker lofts, 1520 Washington, frequently power washes their sidewalk
The sidewalk in front of Roberts Galerie, 1224 Washington, is always nasty.

Maybe US Bank and others rely solely on the Downtown Clean Team:

Downtown STL Inc. has established a Clean Team in an effort to contribute to the beautification of the Community Improvement District (CID), through an aggressive sidewalk and street level cleaning program.

Clean Team members, dressed in purple and khaki, walk the streets of Downtown, St. Louis, to make sure we maintain a clean and inviting appearance to all visitors.

Some of the duties the Clean Team may encounter are: debris clean up on streets and sidewalks; graffiti and handbill removal from first floor buildings; power washing sidewalks; clean up after special events (Parades, Sporting Events, Festivals, etc.); and also cleaning and maintaining the Old Post Office Plaza and Downtown Bike Station. (Downtown Clean Team)

They also do a great job, I see them frequently. Maybe building managers/owners need to request power washing if they don’t want to do it themselves like others do? I’ll contact them myself to see if they can help out where they’re so desperately needed.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Should Larry Rice Be Allowed To Reopen His Homeless Shelter?

October 14, 2018 Downtown, Featured, Homeless, NLEC, Religion, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Larry Rice Be Allowed To Reopen His Homeless Shelter?
 
Please vote below

Last month a 2nd court ruled against Larry Rice and his downtown homeless shelter:

The Missouri Court of Appeals upholds a lower court ruling that found the city of St. Louis acted properly when it shut down the New Life Evangelistic Center homeless mission in April of 2017.

The center’s director, the Reverend Larry Rice says, it’s hard to re-open when he can’t get petition signatures from neighbors in the locked loft next door.

“What’s really made this difficult is the people they want us to get signatures from are the people that put in the petition in order to stop us from doing the shelter,” Rice said, “At the same time, we’re willing to do our individual appeal to each person that lives in the loft next door at 15th and Locust, the management of those lofts refused to give us access.”

Rice says he may seek a court order granting him access to the building to talk to knock on doors of residents.

Also, he plans to appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court and argue that his homeless shelter is a “local church” and has a Consitutional right to stay open to serve its congregation–the homeless. (KMOX)

Today’s non-scientific poll is about Larry Rice and his former shelter.

Today’s poll closes at 8pm tonight. The usual number of votes is around 28-32 so if there’s an effort to influence the outcome it’ll be very obvious. My thoughts on Wednesday.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 19 of 2018-2019 Session

October 12, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 19 of 2018-2019 Session
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 19th meeting of the 2018-2019 session.

Today’s agenda includes nine (9) new bills:

  • B.B.#129 – Williamson – An Ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission, to change the zoning of property as indicated onthe District Map, from “D” Multiple-Family Dwelling District and“H” Area Commercial District to the “H” Area CommercialDistrict for the portion of the parcel known as Lot A on theattached Exhibit A and to the “D” Multiple-Family Dwelling District for the portion of the parcel known as Lot B, in City Block 5520 (401-33 Debaliviere); and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#130 – Vollmer – An ordinance approving the petition to establish the La Collina Community Improvement District, establishing the La Collina Community Improvement District.
  • B.B.#131 – Spencer – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 3107 Meramec.
  • B.B.#132 – Arnowitz – An ordinance authorizing and directing the Director of the Department of Health, Mayor of the City, and their authorized grantee official, to enter into and execute a Cooperative Agreement Award with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, to fund the St. Louis Opioid and Homicide Prevention Command Center, upon approval of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, and to expend funds by entering into contracts or otherwise for the Cooperative Agreement Award purposes and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#133 – Coatar – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment and the Board of Public Service authorizing the St. Louis Municipal Finance Corporation, in its discretion, to issue and sell its new bonds supported by payments by the City and with limitations on the amounts due as City payments with respect thereto, in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $105,000,000, and, alternatively or in addition, authorizing the Board of Estimate and Apportionment to approve and the City to execute one or more Financing Agreements with one or more governmental entities providing for payments by the City, with limitations on the amounts due as City payments with respect thereto; and containing an emergency clause and a severability clause.
  • B.B.#134 – Williamson/Moore – Pursuant to Ordinance 68937, an ordinance authorizing the honorary street name Frank Williamson Sr. Way, which shall begin at the intersection of Enright and Union and run east on Enright to Arlington.
  • B.B.#135 – Williamson – Pursuant to Ordinance 68937, an ordinance authorizing the honorary street name Thelma N. Williamson Way, which shall begin at the intersection of Arlington and Clemens and run north on Arlington to the intersection of Arlington and Windemere.
  • B.B.#136 – Vaccaro – An ordinance defining “recreational fire” as an outdoor fire, burning fuel other than rubbish, leaves, grass, paper, building materials except for untreated dimensional lumber, or logs larger than four (4) inches diameter, where the fuel is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, portable outdoor fireplace, barbeque grill or barbeque pit, has a total fuel area no more than thirty (30) inches in diameter and eighteen (18) inches in height, used for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes; and providing for the regulation of recreational fires; and containing an emergency clause. [See barbecue vs barbeque at Grammerist]B.B.#137 – Williamson/Green – An ordinance revising and amending Ordinance No. 62885, which imposes a one-half of one-percent sales tax, known as the Capital Improvements Sales Tax, on all retail sales made in the City which are subject to taxation under the provisions of Sections 144.010 to 144.525 R.S.Mo., and providing for the allocation of such funds for the purpose of funding capital improvements, including allocations for ward capital improvements, so that allocations for ward capital improvements for each ward shall be made based upon eachward’s “need”, such need to be determined pursuant to anannual analyses conducted by the St. Louis Development Corporation of the following six data points for each ward: Median Household Income, Poverty Rate, Educational Attainment (percentage of college graduates), Unemployment Rate, Crime Rate (crimes against persons; murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault), and Vacant Parcels per ward; and containing a severability clause.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2017-2018 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

Opinion: St. Louis Region Should Stop Chasing Big Conventions, Should Instead Invest in Improving the Quality of Life for Residents & Tourists

October 10, 2018 Featured, STL Region Comments Off on Opinion: St. Louis Region Should Stop Chasing Big Conventions, Should Instead Invest in Improving the Quality of Life for Residents & Tourists
 

Every region has an entity responsible for getting people from other regions to visit…and spend money.

The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission (DBA Explore St. Louis) is the official destination marketing organization responsible for selling St. Louis City and St. Louis County as a convention and meeting site and as a leisure travel destination. Explore St. Louis works to attract citywide conventions, one-hotel meetings, sporting events, group tours and individual leisure travelers to St. Louis. More than 700 local and regional businesses are partners with Explore St. Louis.

The St. Louis Tourism Bureau was founded in 1909 by a group of local business leaders, after seeing the success of the 1904 World’s Fair. In 1984, the Bureau was restructured and combined with the St. Louis County Office of Tourism to form the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission (SLCVC), a regional commission of the State of Missouri. Dedicated funding for the SLCVC and the Regional Arts Commission through a new tax on hotel rooms was implemented. The SLCVC’s board was reorganized in 1991 to reflect the organization’s new role in managing the expanded America’s Center Convention Complex including the 67,000-seat Dome at America’s Center, 1,400- seat Ferrara Theatre, a 28,000 square-foot ballroom and the St. Louis Executive Conference Center. (Prior to the expansion, the convention center had been operated by the City of St. Louis.)

The SLCVC’s 11-member Board of Commissioners is headed by a chairman appointed by the Governor of Missouri. Five Board members are appointed by the Mayor of the City of St. Louis and five are appointed by the St. Louis County Executive. According to the organization’s enabling legislation, three of each official’s appointees must be actively engaged in the St. Louis hotel industry. (Explore St. Louis)

Their name includes ‘convention’, which comes before ‘visitors’. So, like nearly every other region in the country, they chase conventions. It takes a lot of vacationing families of four to equal one convention with 6,000 attendees, so conventions are typically how cities/regions try to fill hotel rooms.

Cervantes Convention Center. 801 Convention Center Plaza. St. Louis Mo. August, 1977. Photograph (35mm Kodachrome) by Ralph D’Oench, 1977. Missouri Historical Society Photographs and Prints Collections. NS 30747. Scan © 2006, Missouri Historical Society.

The choices for small conventions/conferences in the St. Louis region are numerous. Collinsville IL and St. Charles MO each have facilities, as do many hotels throughout the region. Events that would book these venues are too small for our downtown convention center, marketed as America’s Center. There are events that have been held here that have outgrown our current facilities, they’ve moved on to larger venues.

The meeting/convention market, like many others, is shrinking. Even big shows are having to change.

The Detroit auto show is moving from its traditional slot in January to June, seeking to reinvent itself after many automakers decamped for the week-earlier Consumer Electronics Show or lost interest in auto shows altogether.

The shift will take place in 2020. That means 2019’s show will be the last one in January.

The overhauled event aims to create a festival-like air with vehicle debuts, concerts, splashy displays and food trucks stretching along Detroit’s riverfront and into the city’s downtown when it begins June 8, 2020. (USA Today)

Every year my husband and I attend the annual Chicago Auto Show, held at the largest US convention center, McCormack Place — in 2020 we hope to check out the show in Detroit. I’ve been through Detroit only once — returning to St. Louis from Toronto on a bus in 2006.  I have many areas of interest in Detroit, including middle eastern food highlighted by Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised chef Marcus Samuelsson the first episode of No Passport Required on PBS. Food, architecture, etc is often why I want to visit other regions.

Those who host the big events have many choices already, with more regions spending millions annually to try to get their event to their newly built or expanded facility. It’s a buyer’s market.

The recent non-scientific Sunday Poll was deliberately used the word ‘visitors’ instead of ‘conventioneers.’

Q: Agree or disagree: We need to invest $175 million in our convention center to be able to attract visitors to the St. Louis region.

  • Strongly agree: 11 [34.38%]
  • Agree: 4: [12.5%]
  • Somewhat agree: 4 [12.5%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 3 [9.38%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 2 [6.25%]
  • Disagree: 3 [9.38%]
  • Strongly disagree: 4 [12.5%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [3.13%]

Nearly 60% agreed, but I disagree. If our goal is to attract the shrinking convention business we need to spend a lot to do so.  However, if our goal is to attract visitors we still need to spend a lot — but in different ways.  Besides further blocking off the Near Northside from downtown, expanding the existing facility is wasting money that could, potentially, have a much greater impact if spent elsewhere. The city & county each contribute $6 million annually in hotel taxes. The current bonds will be paid off in a few years.

Now is the time to rethink our strategy for getting people to the region — visitors spend money and it takes money to get them here. I have no problem spending money on attracting visitors to our region, I just question spending ALL on chasing conventions being chased by every other region in the country. Maybe the focus shifts from conventions to culture (food, music, etc.)? Maybe I’m just pissed that 9th Street will also be closed now that I’m planning to move North of the already massive complex. Maybe it’s just upsetting one group has been working on getting rail transit on 9th/10th without knowing another was planning to close 9th.

If only we could turn our fragmentation into an attraction.

— Steve Patterson

Advertisement



FACEBOOK POSTS

This is Bill, he’s worked for ⁦‪Metro‬⁩ since 1970! Second bus I’ve ridden where he calls out bus stops and places served. Love it! #stl ... See MoreSee Less

17 hours ago  ·  

This is not a “Where am I?”, it’s a ‘What did it used to be?’

My doctor bought this vacant building almost 20 years ago. Before it was a medical office, what occupied the 1954 building at 2340 Hampton?
... See MoreSee Less

20 hours ago  ·  

Where am I?

ANSWER: AT Still University/Affinia Healthcare (aka dental school), 1500 Park. Looking east from 2nd floor.
... See MoreSee Less

2 days ago  ·  

Archives

Categories

Advertisement


Subscribe