ST. LOUIS – Plans to transform the city’s approach to caring for the unhoused have hit a roadblock.
Proposed legislation addressing the city’s homeless issue came about after all the drama surrounding the homeless encampment on the City Hall lawn not too long ago, but now those bills have hit a new roadblock. The Housing, Urban Development, and Zoning Committee met on Tuesday.
According to FOX 2’s partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Alderwoman Alisha Sonnier has canceled a crucial hearing on her proposed bills, announcing they will be pulled from consideration. However, she’s determined to collaborate with other officials to draft new bills that can garner support. The efforts to overhaul the city’s approach to caring for the unhoused happened after a homeless encampment developed on the front lawn of St. Louis City Hall in September, and was removed. Then it reformed in front of the St. Louis Municipal Court building.
Sonnier and Aldermanic President Megan Green wanted to end what they saw as “the city’s cruel bulldozing of tent encampments, boost shelter space in the city, and inaugurate a more humane and effective policy toward some of the city’s most vulnerable people.” The bills nevertheless sparked division and criticism, even with progressive Democrats.
The bills would have made it, so new shelters wouldn’t have to get the approval of nearby residents before opening. They would also have required a month’s notice before clearing a homeless encampment and setting up city-run camps with essential services like bathrooms and 24-hour security.
Several aldermen, along with Mayor Tishaura Jones, questioned whether these proposals were feasible, cost-efficient, or even legal.
Sonnier says efforts to change the policy are not dead. She and Aldermanic President Megan Green have pledged to work relentlessly until a solution is found but as negotiations continue, it’s unclear how St. Louis will address its homeless problem.