ST. LOUIS – This week’s heat wave brings new concerns about a man and woman we’ve told you about. They’ve been living on the same sidewalk in a St. Louis neighborhood for the last two years. It now appears the City of St. Louis may finally take action.
No longer is this simply an issue of squatting on a sidewalk. Now, it’s also about surviving this dangerous heat. Members of the St. Louis task force are coming up with a solution. They have been to the site and visited with the man and woman living in a make-shift home.
Steve McClanahan says the view about 30 feet from his front porch has changed recently. A team of health department and homeless services workers joined police at the site. A translator relayed messages to the refugees from Sudan who’ve been living on the sidewalk.
“All this is getting moved soon, and they need to leave,” said McClanahan. “It didn’t go really well because they didn’t want any support from anybody. They just want to be left alone and do what they do.”
The International Institute confirms the man and woman went through a resettlement process when they arrived in St. Louis 12 years ago. The couple has rejected repeated offers of help, including free housing.
“We’re only able to provide support as long as the client accepts that support. That has really been a stumbling block,” said Arrey Obenson, President, CEO, International Institute of St. Louis.
“The policeman said, ‘Give us a couple of weeks and we’ll have them gone,'” said McClanahan.
We’ve asked police and the health department if there is now a deadline for the couple to move. We have yet to get a response. The alderwoman for the ward, Daneila Velazquez, says she has no update.