St. Louis must care for its homeless

The Tucker Tunnel is about to be filled in and the camps of the homeless who live under it will be destroyed. And although St. Louis City has promised to give housing to those who live under the Tucker Tunnel, both the residents of the tunnel and those who have worked with them are not hopeful that the city will actually come through with its promise.

It isn’t even as if the city has dished out its own cash to resettle them. They are working with various charities to coordinate housing arrangements, but this process has been slow and the only ones to be aided so far had already been involved with one of the organizations. The majority of the denizens are still unconnected with services and wait in a kind of limbo for assistance.

Some would say that it isn’t the city’s job to relocate homeless who don’t have a claim to the land, anyway. But it is, to a certain degree. Just because people exist outside the system doesn’t mean they aren’t deserving of services; St. Louis should be working hard all the time to alleviate the problem of homelessness, not only when publicity shines its light on the plights of several.

According to St. Louis City’s website, the only stand-out initiative targeted at the homeless that the actual government has is the Continuum of Care, a project that works to coordinate the hands of the various private organizations. Other than that, homeless care is the work of church groups and independent charities.

It looks even worse that the city has dumped development of the north side onto businessman Paul McKee, who, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, plans to raze the historic neighborhoods and some newly acquired homes in order to engage in a massive redevelopment scheme that he claims will build houses and businesses but in reality will either fail or result in another gentrified St. Louis neighborhood. All of this will further exacerbate the problem of homelessness by creating more instability and driving resources away from programs targeted at helping the needy.

A recent article in the Suburban Journal counted the city’s homeless population at 1,350. That is too many people on the streets. St. Louis needs to take responsibility for all of its people, both those who have homes and those who don’t.