When the plan was discovered to locate Biddle House at 1211 N. Tucker in the Near Northside, 5th Ward Alderwoman Tammika Hubbard, and others in the community objected strenuously and repeatedly, including direct contact with the Mayor’s Office. At that time, The City indicated that they understood the community’s concerns and would engage in a community outreach process to understand those concerns fully and make changes to the proposed facility to accommodate them.
However, no such process was ever undertaken.
After months of no transparency or communication, on January 11, 2016, the Mayor’s Office informed Alderwoman Hubbard that, despite her stringent and longstanding objections, and that of her partners in the Choice Neighborhoods process, the City of St. Louis had decided to move forward to open Biddle House this summer at 1211 N. Tucker.
The City will spend $2.2 million to construct the densest homeless shelter and service provider in the St. Louis Region at a crucial location within the Near Northside.
Biddle House is intended in part to replace three facilities currently located in the Downtown core or just south, the City’s shelter at the Park and Tucker recreation center, as well as NLEC and The Bridge, which serve large populations of homeless men that for years have devastated the areas around them with intense criminal activity including shootings, homicides, drug dealing, thefts, assaults, and many other toxic behaviors. These combined functions will almost certainly impact the already devastated Near Northside area more dramatically than they do Downtown St. Louis.
Even worse, the City has decided that Biddle House is not just going to be one node in the scattered site intake and assessment function it had previously planned and told the federal government it would implement, but instead will be the centralized intake and assessment facility for all homeless individuals in the region.
If Biddle House opens as threatened, every suburban police department, hospital systems, and church group will have explicit sanction and encouragement from the City to dump their unwanted homeless individuals in the middle of the Near Northside area, accelerating the continued decline of this devastated community.