ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Nearly three years after a downtown homeless camp was closed by the city due to safety and health concerns, another has popped up near the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.
Bulldozers were brought in spring 2012 to take down the remnants of a homeless camp then known as Hopeville. Besides pitching tents, the homeless there also built shacks out of plywood. The city finally dispersed the encampment after reports of fights, a fire, and even a murder. Some of the village occupants were relocated to apartments or motels.
Helicopter video showed old furniture surrounded by more than a dozen tents on a patch of land just off of Interstate 70. The video also showed plywood and wood pellets in the makeshift village, possibly for shacks or maybe firewood. A dumpster was also near the camp, as well as a port-o-potty.
This new tent city is now one of the first things motorists see when crossing the bridge from Illinois to Missouri. City representatives say it's not only an eyesore, but a safety concern. And like other homeless encampments in the past, this one will also be disbanded.
“We have to be sensitive about that, we are working with winter outreach workers to take the right approach, but they have to go,” said Eddie Roth, Director of Human Services for the City of St. Louis. “It's no way to live, it's not safe for the people who live there, it's not safe for our first responders who have to come sometimes when things are out of order.”
Roth says he doesn’t know where the dumpster or port-o-potty came from. Two other, smaller encampments were located in downtown, and Roth says they’ll be coming down as well.