Larry Rice - New Life Evangelistic Center

Downtown construction activity, including hotel projects, major renovations, office projects, streetscape improvements, etc.
First unread post943 posts
symphonicpoet wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:49 pm
I fail to see what's remotely surprising about it. Like it or not, Rice is responding to a very real problem. If we had no homelessness in town there would be no need for a shelter on Locust or anywhere else. You can't just sweep the problem under Biddle and hope it goes away. You want New Life gone? Okay. Let's fix the problem. It's time for realistic, compassionate solutions. You can argue about whether Rice is helping, but you can't really argue about why he's there. If you don't want him there . . . fix it. Raise property taxes in the fancy parts of town to pay for services. Pay for housing now out of the city budget with no strings attached on the assumption that it will lower policing and heath care costs later. And probably raise property values. Maybe more than enough to offset the cost. Figure out how we CAN afford this. Because we really need to if the city is going to thrive.
I respectfully and completely disagree. Rice exasperates the problem. He is not and never has been part of the solution. His model doesn't work and it goes against any successful model that has shown progress across the country.

"Raise property taxes in the fancy part of town to pay for services" also misses the mark. City residents already pay for and support more than their share of the REGION'S issue. The problem is lack of support from St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, etc. Their lack of services force the issue on the city and we already pick-up a disproportionate share.

Larry's operates/operated a problem property and a shelter that violated every tenant of sensible homeless services for decades. There is a reason multiple other regions have force him to permanently close his operation. We should and must follow suit.
robertn42 wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:19 pm
There is a reason multiple other regions have force him to permanently close his operation.
Link?
urban_dilettante wrote: with all due respect, :roll: . fortunately most things aren't regulated based on whether or not the proprietor has good intentions.
Exactly.
(and I'm definitely not convinced that Rice's intentions are pure.)

Rice criticizing other shelters/services for not solving the problem is either the height of dishonesty or the height of incognizance. the guy has never presented a shred of data to demonstrate that his shelter gets better results than the ones he derides, and since he continuously and conveniently rejects any outside oversight there's no metric by which to compare his services to theirs. seems if he were actually concerned about finding a "better way" he'd work with other services. so, sorry, but i'm calling BS.

in any case, if NLEC can play nice with downtown residents in its new form then great. if it devolves into the same crap again, shut it down for good. i'm a little concerned about it having "church" status as that might create a whole mess of legal complications if it needs to be shut down again.
As you implied above it doesn't really matter what his intentions are. He's going to do with the resources allocated to him what he wants to do. And there's only so much we can do about it. And in the end, the problem is real. So the easiest way to shut him down for good? Fix the problem. I honestly don't give a hoot about his intentions or what he does. I don't think it's even relevant. What we should be talking about is the problem. Complaining about the person blowing on the house fire doesn't really do much to put it out. Better to figure out what kind of fire it is and deploy appropriate resources. I'm trying to propose a new direction for this thread: Let's figure out how to put out the fire. Maybe put that before the appropriate organizations and alderpeople and get the fire under control. I'm just spitballing, to be sure. But we have to start somewhere. How has Salt Lake's program worked, for instance? If the answer is well, then what can we do to emulate that? If it didn't then we can either try to figure out why or find a different model.
robertn42 wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:19 pm

I respectfully and completely disagree. Rice exasperates the problem. He is not and never has been part of the solution. His model doesn't work and it goes against any successful model that has shown progress across the country.

"Raise property taxes in the fancy part of town to pay for services" also misses the mark. City residents already pay for and support more than their share of the REGION'S issue. The problem is lack of support from St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, etc. Their lack of services force the issue on the city and we already pick-up a disproportionate share.

Larry's operates/operated a problem property and a shelter that violated every tenant of sensible homeless services for decades. There is a reason multiple other regions have force him to permanently close his operation. We should and must follow suit.
I'm not really trying to debate whether Rice is right or wrong. Doesn't really matter to me. The problem of poverty and the way our society sets certain people up for it is what bothers me. Complaining about Rice does nothing to fix it. Shutting down Rice does nothing to fix it, so far as I can tell. And sure, it's clearly a regional problem and St. Charles and Arnold should be on board. But I can't force them and we need to fix it with or without them. So I'm most interested in what we can do without them. That's what's possible. The rest looks like fantasy right now. I fully agree with you they should be on board, but I'm not really sure how to accomplish that. And I figure the problem is too important to just wait for prince charming to come along and fix it. (Arnold really isn't all that charming anyway.)
symphonicpoet wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:18 pm
So the easiest way to shut him down for good? Fix the problem.
Actually, that's probably the hardest way.

Just sayin'.
symphonicpoet wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:18 pm
As you implied above it doesn't matter what his intentions are. He's going to do with the resources allocated to him what he wants to do. And there's only so much we can do about it. And in the end, the problem is real. So the easiest way to shut him down for good? Fix the problem. I honestly don't give a hoot about his intentions or what he does. I don't think it's even relevant. What we should be talking about is the problem. Complaining about the person blowing on the house fire doesn't really do much to put it out. Better to figure out what kind of fire it is and deploy appropriate resources. I'm trying to propose a new direction for this thread: Let's figure out how to put out the fire. Maybe put that before the appropriate organizations and alderpeople and get the fire under control. I'm just spitballing, to be sure. But we have to start somewhere. How has Salt Lake's program worked, for instance? If the answer is well, then what can we do to emulate that? If it didn't then we can either try to figure out why or find a different model.
his intentions don't matter as long as he conforms to the city's regulations. he's only going to do what he wants as long as he conforms to them. if he doesn't, he gets shut down. quite simple. seems to me you're arguing to leave him alone b/c he means well, regardless of how he goes about it. but, again, i'm not convinced of his altruism.

You're assuming that he's blowing on the fire instead of squirting lighter fluid on it. i really don't think you can demonstrate that it's the former and not the latter, and since he doesn't provide any data or allow any oversight we don't know. what we do know is that his shelter was poorly maintained and dangerously over-capacity, and that his patrons were regularly shitting/pissing all over downtown, getting into fights, and harassing/threatening downtown residents. oh and he was forcing them to attend religious services in exchange for bologna sandwiches.

i think you're being a little disingenuous by claiming that we can't both be working on a better model while also taking Rice to task for his shoddy practices which may very well be making the problem worse. there already are better models in St. Louis--ones that actually gather data on their efforts b/c they're actually concerned about improving their services--and there are certainly better models elsewhere in the US and in the world that we can/should emulate. that doesn't mean Rice gets a pass to do whatever the hell he wants b/c we haven't yet found the solution to homelessness. That make no sense. and why isn't Rice working with others in this search for the perfect model? seems like he'd be all over that if his goal were actually to eliminate homelessness instead of build his identity/livelihood around it.
bprop wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:34 pm
robertn42 wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:19 pm
There is a reason multiple other regions have force him to permanently close his operation.
Link?
Springfield, Mo
https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/gov ... f6878.html

Cape
https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/met ... 2bc8b.html
^ neither of those say any such thing:

"There is a reason multiple other regions have force him to permanently close his operation."

Blatant falsehood.
^ :roll: Springfield wants feds to rescind shelter deed due to "consistent and flagrant disregard of local and state laws" and cape won't allow him to open (wonder why).
framer wrote:
symphonicpoet wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:18 pm
So the easiest way to shut him down for good? Fix the problem.
Actually, that's probably the hardest way.

Just sayin'.
Valid point. Maybe I should have said the "best" way rather than the "easiest." ;-)
urban_dilettante wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:20 am
his intentions don't matter as long as he conforms to the city's regulations. he's only going to do what he wants as long as he conforms to them. if he doesn't, he gets shut down. quite simple. seems to me you're arguing to leave him alone b/c he means well, regardless of how he goes about it.
Honestly I can essentially agree with all of that. Yes, he should be subject to the same oversight as the rest of us and yes, the same rules should (and do) apply. I've no objection to the city enforcing building code. I'm not in a position to comment on what either the city or Rice is really doing in that regard. There's a lot of conjecture and a lot of hearsay. A whole lot of he said-she said and I'm not on the jury in this case.

But I don't think this thread is terribly productive. I think WE can do better than simply complaining. We could, in theory, come up with new ideas to combat the problem. Maybe there's a way to "disrupt" the paradigm, or "incentivize" a different model. It's harder to get people to attack complicated problems without quick payoffs, but that doesn't mean we can't do it. Maybe on a different thread. My goal, really, is to change the tone from one of "Larry Rice is a sucky con artist!" to one of "How do we help fight generational poverty and systemic racism and its effects?" Instead of a negative "Never Rice!" campaign we could use a more positive "Fruits and Veggies!" campaign. So . . .

Yeah. Let me just get off my ass and fix that.

Honestly. Just trying to change the tone a little. I really think we agree far more than we disagree. And most of where we disagree is simply that we don't have equally strong opinions or precisely the same set of information.
bprop wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:02 pm
^ neither of those say any such thing:

"There is a reason multiple other regions have force him to permanently close his operation."

Blatant falsehood.
Not really. I was just to lazy to dig up the more detailed reports...
robertn42 wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:04 am
bprop wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:02 pm
^ neither of those say any such thing:

"There is a reason multiple other regions have force him to permanently close his operation."

Blatant falsehood.
Not really. I was just to lazy to dig up the more detailed reports...
It has nothing to do with "more detail." Neither story supports your quote in any shape nor form.

The Cape one wasn't even about any operation Rice had there.

Again, blatant falsehood.

You can have your own opinions, but you can't have your own facts.
bprop wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:36 pm
robertn42 wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:04 am
bprop wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:02 pm
^ neither of those say any such thing:

"There is a reason multiple other regions have force him to permanently close his operation."

Blatant falsehood.
Not really. I was just to lazy to dig up the more detailed reports...
It has nothing to do with "more detail." Neither story supports your quote in any shape nor form.

The Cape one wasn't even about any operation Rice had there.

Again, blatant falsehood.

You can have your own opinions, but you can't have your own facts.
I should have rephrased: Larry Rice is a problem, other communities agree:

https://www.news-leader.com/story/news/ ... /81775410/

https://www.semissourian.com/story/1785846.html

https://www.semissourian.com/story/1540399.html

City officials have at times accused Rice's New Life Evangelistic Center — the organization that operates the veterans center and other homeless shelters — of flagrant disregard of local and state laws.

In 2007, a free store on West Commercial Street was the site of a forcible rape while the store was being used illegally as an overnight shelter. A police investigation of the New Life facility, owned by Rice, showed 25 people were staying there that night; five were registered sex offenders.

Another property once operated by New Life at 1900 N. Lyon Ave. was the subject of several complaints and zoning violations. Neighbors there reported seeing as many as 20 individuals in the house located in a single family residential zone.

Facilities owned by New Life also saw the fatal stabbing of a 21-year-old in a St. Louis in 2008, as well as a chain saw attack in Callaway County that left four injured.

Top officials have said the veteran's center in Springfield is a danger to occupants and neighboring businesses and residents.

In 2011, Rice opened the parking lot of the center to overnight campers for more than a week but was told later to take the tents down.

In 2012, city officials asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to take back the deed given to Rice's New Life Evangelistic Center. The feds declined


Seems like he is bad for the homeless and a bad neighbor, but maybe its just me. Or maybe it is because I lived by his shelter for 7 years and was the one peeling overdosed teens off the sidewalk and getting them an ambulance, grabbing water for the drunks that were passed out in the alley behind his building in the heat of July, protecting my wife from the mentally ill that gathered on the corners of his property, and cleaning up the trash that constantly blew up and down his block. Maybe, just maybe, you would like to hear the thoughts of the woman who was attacked by the sexual predator Larry housed (across the street from a high school) when the man tailgated someone into our building. Luckily she was saved by another woman who fought him off when he heard her screams in the hallway.

Great to hear his operation will be back up and running, but yeah, you are right, those communities only fought to shut him down. Lucky for them, he keeps fighting to stay open.
So... umm... The post above this is pretty damning and has substantial factual backing to pretty much support anyone’s lack of welcoming or excitement for Larry Rice.

While some may support him for pricing services to homeless, I think it’s a fair statement that he doesn’t exactly go about his business in a way that focuses on building relationships within a community and generating long term, permanent solutions. And that’s putting it nicely. I’m honestly not sure why many would go out of their way to support him as there are other organizations downtown and within the region who are better equipped to assist those in need. Let’s focus on giving them more resources and expanding their facilities rather than letting Larry Rice restart his NLEC.
^So maybe it's time to start a new thread and talk about some of those other resources and what we can do to support them and grow them and make them work better? I can see that. Could be a kind of ancillary urban theory thread.
Probably.
Honestly, I’ll be done with Downtown, if his overnight shelter reopens. I’ve been downtown for years, but I will not deal with that again. I’ve been considering leaving the STL region anyways. Tired of the bullsh*t around here.


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Leaving the area because you are tired of the BS?
Let us all know when you find the location that is the panacea of happiness.
For the record, my wife and I just moved to Chicago from St. Louis over the summer in part because we got tired of the regional tribalism, pessimistic, and never ending BS. Yes, there are major issues in Chicago as well, but its still night and day living downtown. So STLhistoryBuff isn't exactly using hyperbole.

Many of us on this board clamor to see real change happen in St. Louis. But then when stuff like NLEC can't be addressed and it continues to fester... well, that's telling. NLEC isn't the genesis for all that ails St. Louis, but it's a very telling symptom of the larger problems: fractured regionalism, inability to identify and implement lasting solutions, and a political system that just keeps turning without going anywhere.

This idea that people who leave St. Louis because they're exhausted from all the issues or that they're seeking some "panacea of happiness" needs to end. Maybe we should ask why people are leaving and then actually address the issues rather than taking issue with the people leaving?