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Homeless couple at center of complaints, legal battles back on the streets after declining help again

<i>KMOV via CNN Newsource</i><br/>A homeless couple at the center of years of complaints and concerns is back on the streets after declining help.
KMOV via CNN Newsource
A homeless couple at the center of years of complaints and concerns is back on the streets after declining help.

By Cameron Bopp

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    ST. LOUIS, Missouri (KMOV) — Just days after the City of St. Louis removed a homeless encampment from a street corner in the Tower Grove South neighborhood, the Sudanese refugee couple is back on the streets, this time, without their home to go back to.

The city cleared the couple’s belongings Thursday from the intersection of Chippewa and Spring, where they had reportedly been staying for at least three years. The city cited health and safety concerns as a reason for the removal. The couple, as well as St. Louis, is also at the center of a lawsuit filed by neighbors, stating the couple bathed in public and used a nearby storm sewer as a toilet for years.

Last week, the City stated shelter and resources would be provided to the couple in exchange for the encampment’s removal, yet First Alert 4 spotted the pair at R&M Laundromat on Gravois and Spring Monday.

A nearby business owner said he has been helping the couple with small tasks for nearly a decade.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” Jermaine Mohamed said after helping the couple cross the street. “You help them with some things, and they take that. Other things, they don’t want.”

First Alert 4 watched as the couple declined a $20 bill from a resident Monday.

According to a spokesperson for the city, the couple, whose English is limited, also declined housing and resources from the city.

“I would understand. It’s hard to receive help from people that seem like they genuinely don’t want to give it,” Allesha Smith said. “A lot of people’s help isn’t genuine.”

A spokesperson for the City of St. Louis provided the following statement:

“[Sunday] night, a representative from the Department of Human Services met with the couple that previously occupied the encampment at the corner of Spring and Chippewa. Via a translator, the couple was offered long-term housing at no cost to them. The couple refused the offer.”

The couple’s refusal leaves residents wondering ‘what’s next?’ for the pair and the community.

“Where do they go from here? I know they’re going to be in these four corners,” Mohamed said. “I know they aren’t going to go too far. This is day one.”

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