By Mike Rush
St. Clair County, IL (KSDK) - If you're going shopping in St. Clair County Tuesday, you might be sharing space with a couple dozen homeless people.
It's a public display homeless advocates are using to highlight what they consider lack of adequate shelters.
Pastor Larry Rice plans to take as many as 25 homeless people to St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights.
He says it's for a few reasons, to get them out of the heat, to let them apply for jobs in the mall, and to let them be a visual for what he considers to be a problem here.
Rice heads up New Life Evangelistic Center, which has homeless shelters in St Louis.
He says over the last month as many as 70 homeless people from the Metro East and other parts of Illinois have been dumped in St. Louis because there isn't adequate shelter on the Illinois side of the river.
So he plans to bring them back, at least for the day, to walk around St. Clair Square, get something to eat and apply for jobs.
It's a thought that makes some people a bit uncomfortable.
"I probably wouldn't go to the mall knowing that that is going on. First of all because my husband wouldn't be able to be with me and I would have my 6-year-old and 22-month-old by myself and you just don't know," said Fairview Heights resident Jennifer White.
In 2009, the Salvation Army shut down a shelter based in Belleville. A spokesman for the Salvation Army says a city policy violated the confidentiality of its clients, forcing them to shut down.
But the mayor says the shelter left because the economy started tanking and the donations stopped coming.
The mayor says he and others in the county have been meeting to discuss solutions for the homeless, although he's not willing to say who's involved or what the options are.