Date: April 4th, 2024
To: Chair Narayan, and members of the Public Safety Committee – City of St. Louis
From: Eric Reiter, Community Justice Practicum Intern, Empower Missouri
Re: Our support for re-envisioning the Workhouse

Since our founding in 1901, Empower Missouri has advocated for a vision in which all Missourians have food, shelter, and justice. Because of this vision, Empower Missouri stands with our colleagues from the Close the Workhouse campaign and amplifies their calls for transformative solutions to re-envision what could become of the previous site of the Workhouse. The campaign has echoed the community’s resolute call for change, emphasizing a collective desire for transformation, reparation, and renewed prosperity. They have given voice to a powerful and unified demand for a more compassionate and just approach to addressing the systemic issues facing our community. 

Through that process, the people have spoken. They want rehabilitation, community resources, and an investment from the city they call home. They do not want to see their unhoused neighbors disappeared by space that has already disappeared their loved ones for decades. Mayor Jones herself said “This… is not mere reform; it is a transformation of our city’s approach to public safety. It will require courage, creativity, and a lot of hard work.” We agree, and ask that the courage, creativity, and hard work of community members, particularly those directly impacted by the Workhouse, be respected and their suggestions implemented.

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