ST. LOUIS • Police on Monday told people staying in a row of eight tents lined up on the sidewalk around the corner from the Biddle Housing Opportunities Center, the city’s emergency homeless shelter, that they need to move along soon.
The officers handed out bright green notices from the city’s human services department that said “your unlawful encampment must be terminated” within 10 days.
The city’s refuse division is supposed to pick up any items left behind from the camp after Oct. 27 at 10 a.m.
The tents are situated in the 1100 block of North 13th Street. Homeless people staying there were told to call the St. Louis Housing Helpline at 314-802-5444 and use day shelter services at Biddle House, 1212 North 13th Street.
A man and woman staying in a tent were upset by the notice because they said they didn’t have viable overnight shelter options as a couple. A 42-year-old man who arrived in St. Louis by bus Saturday afternoon said he was staying in a tent because he hadn’t secured a bed at Biddle House, which is often full.
Lisa Davis, 59, said she was part of an effort with Agape Christian Center in north St. Louis County that gave out about 10 tents on Sunday.
“They don’t have anywhere to go,” said Davis. “That’s the reason. I was going to buy them some more so they can stay out of the cold in this weather. It’s sad how they are making the people move. They are being picked on.”
A call to the city’s homeless services department was referred to Koran Addo, spokesman for Mayor Lyda Krewson, who said the tents run counter to city policy.
“There’s a public safety risk, including risk of crime and disorder,” Addo said. “Those are compounded when multiple tents are erected into encampments.”