ST. LOUIS – Following Tuesday night’s report on south St. Louis sidewalk squatters, FOX 2 has learned much more about the couple at the center of things.

The man and woman who’ve been living in squalor on neighborhood sidewalks for more than a decade are Sudanese refugees who arrived here 12 years ago. There have been repeated efforts to help. All have failed.

A new task force has been initiated to try again.

The saga has now been an issue for three consecutive St. Louis mayors.

The man and woman have been living in a sidewalk dwelling constructed from shopping carts, cardboard, old coats, blankets, and plastic sheeting at Chippewa and Spring for two years. They’ve been moving around to various spots in the Dutchtown neighborhood for more than 10 years.

“Before here they were on Bamberger (Avenue),” said neighborhood resident Temika Young.

The couple has also squatted at Chippewa and Gustine. Before that, it was Gravois and Gustine, with the dwelling growing larger through the years.

“It just gets bigger and bigger and bigger,” Young said.

Alderwoman Daniela Valezquez (Ward 6), who represents the neighborhood, tells FOX 2 she has reinitiated a task force to tackle the issue.

“Our goal is to do what’s right for the neighborhood and find a long-term, culturally appropriate solution for this couple,” she said via e-mail.

“I think with her coming on board and bringing together this team, we’re going to give it another try,” said Arrey Obenson, president and CEO of the International Institute of St. Louis.

The man and woman went through the resettlement process in St. Louis, Obenson said. Housing, English classes, and job resources were made available to them. Still, they ended up unhoused and on the street.

“They don’t ever bother people,” Young said.

However, her neighbors have grown weary of the odor, human waste, and rodent infestation stemming from the improvised sidewalk shelter.

There are public health and safety concerns.

A spokesman for the City of St. Louis said the couple has continued to refuse help.

“The City of St. Louis is aware of the unhoused couple currently located at Spring and Chippewa and understands the concerns of nearby residents. Over the past decade, many city agencies and community partners have worked together in attempts to connect the couple with available resources, including the Department of Human Services’ Homeless Services Division, Department of Health’s community sanitation team, the International Institute, and more,” the spokesman said. “They have refused all offers, including offers for tiny homes and other non-congregate housing, medical evaluation, and more…we know it is a long process.”

All those involved in the task force agree that continuing to live in squalor is not an acceptable solution.

“The solution is not living there by the sidewalk. The solution cannot be ignoring them. The solution is community working together to fine a sustainable solution for this family,” Obenson said.

City officials are asking for continued patience and understanding from residents.