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Plans to tear down old Cole County jail and sheriff's house move forward April 16, 2014

Neighbors raise concern over homeless shelter

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A once seedy area known as the garment district of downtown St. Louis has undergone a vast renaissance in recent years. New Life Evangelistic Center, a homeless shelter that is part of the area, is drawing scrutiny from its increasingly affluent neighbors.

The center run by the Rev. Larry Rice has been at odds with City Hall for years. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that newer residents and merchants have now organized and accuse the shelter of drawing unsavory characters to the neighborhood, and failing to handle them properly.

Community members are seeking revocation of New Life’s hotel license, which allows it to be a shelter. They filed petitions with the city Board of Public Service in April. A hearing date on the concerns has not been set.

But the petition drive has drawn criticism from faith leaders who think the region’s most needy residents are being unfairly singled out.

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