ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Mayor’s office announced a delay in shutting down a riverfront encampment on Friday.
A city spokesperson said through an email, “The City of St. Louis will pause closing the riverfront encampment until non-congregate options are secured.”
Advocates for the unhoused say the city should do more to help and work toward long-term solutions. They say band-aid solutions fail to address underlying issues that lead to some turning to a tent for shelter as a last resort.
One encampment along Interstate 44 is being shut down due to safety concerns. A tent community along the River Des Peres has also raised some concerns.
“It’s tough,” said 16th Ward Alderman Tom Oldenburg. “The humanity of the situation is certainly not lost on me.”
Oldenburg introduced a bill on Friday that would prohibit tent communities on a public right of way. He said the motivation behind his bill is safety.
“The idea is you can’t have a tent or an obstruction in a right of way where the city needs to get a piece of equipment in, where water may rise, or where other hazardous conditions can happen,” said Oldenburg.
Board Bill Number 14 is scheduled for a hearing next week.
One man living in a tent along the River Des Peres believes more needs to be done to help those without a home. He said his family ran out of money and options.
“We tried to stay in a shelter, and it was bad on our little girl,” he said. “It’s hard to find a place you know.”