ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal judge has refused to stop St. Louis officials from clearing a homeless encampment at a downtown park.
U.S. District Judge Sarah E. Pitlyk denied on Saturday a request for a temporary restraining order filed by the legal advocacy group ArchCity Defenders, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Pitlyk wrote in her decision that the city was not criminalizing homelessness nor sleeping in public.
The case is not over, however. Another hearing is set for May 12.
The lawsuit alleged that the city was failing to address the needs of homeless people. The city argued that the encampment’s crowded and unsanitary conditions risked spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus.
On Saturday evening, Mayor Lyda Krewson said via Twitter: “With the cooperation and teamwork of a lot of people, including many volunteer outreach workers, about 40 additional individuals were placed into housing today.”
Previously, a first group of about 40 people had accepted shelter, but others moved in to the tent city to take their places. With eviction looming, it’s unclear whether more will move in as the second group has left.
MetroSTL.com staff contributed to this report.