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Advocate rebuffed in attempt to convert federal building to homeless shelter

By AP/St. Louis Public Radio

Cape Girardeau, Mo. – For the second time, officials have turned down a bid to turn a former federal building in Cape Girardeau into a homeless shelter.

The Rev. Larry Rice, a St. Louis based advocate for the homeless, is seeking use of the building.

He wants to use it as an emergency shelter and to provide transitional housing for families and veterans.

Rice said yesterday the Department of Health and Human Services has rejected his effort again.

He got a second chance after a federal judge ordered the agency to re-evaluate his application. Rice says he will continue litigation.

In 2004, Rice also tried to get use of an old St. Louis federal building but was not successful in that effort either.

He cited a Reagan-era federal law that gives homeless service agencies dibs on surplus government property.