ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Some Downtown residents are asking for basic security measures after they found unhoused people sleeping in their stairwells. Tenants said property managers haven't addressed the issue.
The residents are living at the CityView Apartments on Olive Street, a complex that has many different buildings. Residents said they were promised locked doors and additional security, but said that's not what they've seen.
"I don't expect luxury, but I don't expect anyone to just be able to walk in on the street and do whatever they want," one resident said.
This CityView resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, said they've seen stolen packages, trashed laundry rooms and more. This past week, the resident said they have had enough.
"I noticed a homeless person sleeping on the staircase and before that there was food in the staircase and what looked like someone had peed on it. You know, that was just too much for me. While I was in the leasing office, someone else was in there saying in another building there was people sleeping in the lobby," the resident told News 4.
CityView residents said the front door of one CityView building has been broken on and off for months. They said they told management about it several times.
"Over the summer we got an email saying we'll have security, someone patrolling the building regularly, and that's never happened," one resident said.
For the last several months, St. Louis City Leaders and St. Patrick's Center leaders have been trying to find a more permanent solution for the unhoused population. St. Patrick's Center is one of the main resources, right Downtown, for the unhoused. The center's CEO, Anthony D'Agostino,. said it's unfortunately not surprising that unhoused residents are finding their way into other buildings.
"Now that it's cold and it's January, this problem always becomes exacerbated," D'Agostino said.
This summer, the unhoused population along with residents and business owners Downtown endured some challenges. For a few months, some unhoused residents were living at InterCo Plaza on Tucker.
It was an encampment that quickly became the center of violence, fights and even homicides. After a deadly summer, the St. Patrick's Center begged city leaders for assistance. Now, some progress has been made.
"We're trying to work with other service providers and the city to figure out a more holistic way to help individuals in need. ARPA funds are coming from the city and as those funds continue to roll in, there's going to be more opportunities to help," D'Agostino said.
In July, St. Louis City's Board of Aldermen passed Board Bill 2 which allocated millions of dollars of COVID-19 relief federal funding. About $2 million was allocated to helping the unhoused population. News 4 has been told about $750,000 is allocated for development of a property and safe space for the unhoused, with an additional $1.25 million for operation.
Last month, the St. Patrick's Center got pre-approval from city officials for a contract to start that process. The issue now is that they can't decide where to put the new encampment. In Board Bill 2, it specifically lays out several wards whose aldermen refused to allow an unhoused encampment.
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones' Office sent the following statement:
"Funding has been allocated and we are committed to ensuring we can provide this important resource for the unhoused. Right now, we're in the process of deciding where the 'Safe Outdoor Space' will be. This will offer a more permanent location for the unhoused, but is meant to be a transitional space with added wrap around resources."
D'Agostino said those added 'wrap around resources' include access to food, clothing and job opportunities. It's something D'Agostino said he hopes will happen sooner rather than later.
For now, Downtown residents are left to deal with the fallout.
"I just don't expect to step over a homeless person in my building that I pay for," one resident said.
The morning after the story aired, Rosanne Lederman, Vice President of Operations for Mills Properties told News 4 all doors are currently working in buildings across CityView Apartments and there is security on site from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. In response to the images of a homeless person sleeping in stairwell, Lederman said, “It’s a really unfortunate situation and we’re doing everything we can do rectify it with on site security.”
After our story aired, News 4 was contacted by several other residents who sited issues on the CityView property, including cockroaches in apartments and constant break-ins from non-residents. When News 4 asked Mills Properties about this, they said they encourage residents to reach out to on-site property managers or their corporate office to have this addressed.
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