ST. LOUIS — St. Louis 12th Ward Alderman Bill Stephens found himself addressing the same situation Tuesday as Monday: more complaints about a homeless camp in south St. Louis.
“It is a reality that it could potentially grow before we can adequately address it,” Alderman Stephens said.
The property on River Des Peres is where most of the tents are pitched, with some being set up on Metropolitan Sewer District-owned land.
MSD spokesperson Sean Hadley said it’s asked the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to move them to a city-owned area of the embankment.
“It’s easier for them to be on the city side of things, and the city can work with them with services that they have and provide, which is something that MSD just doesn’t do,” Hadley said.
One man who asked to remain anonymous said he became homeless in the last week.
“I don’t really have anyone that’s got my back for real. So, you know being out here like this, it’s not good you know,” he said.
He said he tried a shelter, but it’s not what people who have a place to call home may think.
“It was pretty bad there too. I mean I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I’m checking into things,” he said.
Another man said he didn’t wake up one day and want to be homeless. He said he works, and his boss picks him up blocks away from his tent.
“I don’t want a handout. I want to earn my keep. I see how keep people get treated, and I don’t want to bring that into work you know? Because that could change everything,” he said.
Alderman Stephens said the situation isn’t ideal for residents or for those with no place to call home.
“I always have to ask, ‘Who’s going home to a roof over their head and a hot meal on their table?’ And finding that balance is the goal of the Department of Human Services and my goal as the 12th Ward Alderman,” Stephens said.