Vandalizing Signs with Auschwitz References Doesn't Help St. Louis' Homeless

Categories: News

homelesssign222.JPG
KSDK
One of the defaced signs removed by city road crews.
Someone with horrible taste wants the city to stop arresting the homeless for begging.

That appears to be the rationale behind whoever pasted official-looking stickers to signs originally meant to discourage panhandling at busy intersections. Before road crews removed them on Tuesday, a half dozen signs along I-55 suggested motorists join the city's "Final Solution" by sticking homeless people on trains to Auschwitz.

KSDK reports that police are hoping to use nearby red-light cameras to catch the perp behind the Nazi-invoking stickers. A Reddit user posted a photo of another defaced sign, this one apparently on Grand Boulevard.

homelesssign333.JPG
Imgur
Comparing the city to Nazi Germany is not helping the homeless, you guys.

See also: Group Can't Serve Hot Food To Homeless Without Permit, Says STL Health Dept.

Though the city's signs are clearly targeting homeless individuals, Joe Yancey, director of Places for People, a St. Louis-based homeless outreach and services organization, says it's likely the city was getting complaints from motorists about panhandlers approaching their cars.

"I don't see much wrong with the sign the city put up," Yancey tells Daily RFT. "They're using the signs as a tool to address a specific issue, and I think that's a response to complaints they've been getting.

"Is it the best response? That can be questioned."

homelesssign111.JPG
KSDK
One of city's original signs, unmarked by the "Final Solution" sticker.
In any case, ordinances against aggressive begging and impeding traffic would still exist without the signs.

Yancey says St. Louis officials are "at the table" with homeless service providers like Places for People, which is a lot more than can be said for other cities. While he can understand why laws against begging might anger activists trying to help the city's homeless, defacing the signs won't help anyone.

"The city can't solve the problem, it's going to take all of us to solve the problem," he says. "The city can take the lead, and I think that's where they can do a better job, but beyond that it's going to take all of us, including the corporate community."

Indeed, there are plenty of options available to actually help St. Louis' homeless, including Places for People. There are many more emergency shelters, soup kitchens and outreach groups that could use your help.

For more ways to help the homeless -- as well as other opportunities to make St. Louis a better place -- check our RFT's Summer Guide.

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com

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64 comments
Mark Alan
Mark Alan

St. Louis like EVERY city has it's share of vacant homes - why can't the homeless move in them?

hoffmann2
hoffmann2

I see the Riverfront Times losing credibility with trite, moralizing opinion news titles and "reporting" such as this.  It's up to the public, not the media, to judge what is 'helping.'   These stickers are obviously political art.  I'm not sure what you mean by 'terrible taste' either, are you mad about the font choice?  

leonamarks
leonamarks

Why don't we require the North side redevelopment build some simple loft/studio apts that can be used to house the homeless. It has been proven it's cheaper to house them than to jail them for being homeless. With the jobs that are to be opening once this gets done and some training you could easily solve the cities homeless issues except for the hard core that just want to be on the street. 

Chris Singer
Chris Singer

Here's a really great article written in response to the vandalism and the media's coverage of it. An excerpt: "At first glance, the sign may be alarming. Is someone actually saying the city hasn’t gone far enough in its repression of the homeless? But at second glance, the message is clear: the city’s policy for homeless people is making it impossible for them to exist. The city is slowly killing the homeless. If it’s not hard to understand the vandal’s intent, why does the media misrepresent it? Because like all bodies of power, anything that threatens it must be absorbed to strengthen it, ignored, misrepresented and/or repressed." http://antistatestl.noblogs.org/post/2014/06/14/a-disgusting-sign-made-beautiful-thoughts-on-panhandling-homelessness-and-the-city-and-medias-response-to-recent-vandalism/

Tim Lavin
Tim Lavin

i'm all for solutions... but this guy has bad taste.

heatherrhughes
heatherrhughes

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Steve787
Steve787

Great example of culture jamming

Robert George Crone
Robert George Crone

The St Louis city Police regularly take the homeless down to the river flood-walls and beat the crap out of them and leave them where they fall. Care to cover those story's?? I have seen it with my own eyes so don't tell me it does not happen.

chrisward99
chrisward99 topcommenter

This is simply clever satire in response to the city actually doing nothing about the homeless. Incredibly smart. It has sparked a dialogue, and done it in an incredibly creative way. 

singerc
singerc

This is actually pretty great. Thanks to whoever improved those signs.

Michelle Accardi
Michelle Accardi

The city needs to HELP the homeless not take away any place they can sleep.

Chris Gee
Chris Gee

Stupid fuck heads. It's cool though cause those cameras will catch them or a crazy ass vigilante will get them then they will be hoping that cops caught them first.

Matt Galati
Matt Galati

This is a f-d situation in st. Louis.

Steve Gambino
Steve Gambino

Thank you RT for making the community aware of what is going on in our neighborhoods.

Karen Hall
Karen Hall

What are you doing to help these people? Besides bitching about everything?

Joe-Well Sure-Vin
Joe-Well Sure-Vin

a dramatic, insensitive analogy, but really appreciate the direct action and re-appropriation of public space and signage.

Brian Bulva
Brian Bulva

Because obviously banning aggressive begging is on par with the Holocaust. Some of these fucking comments man.

Lindsey Anne
Lindsey Anne

” attics" ....I don't think what part of the house people store theirs drugs in is very pertinent.

Lindsey Anne
Lindsey Anne

I guess shit talk on homeless folks is valid coming from incompetent jerks who probably spell worse than most of the homeless population. Just a guess.

Amanda Jolene Zepeda
Amanda Jolene Zepeda

Yesterday this woman tried to jump in front of me well I was going down gravois. it was raining. I remember her because she always tries to stop me on Cherokee

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

When the city finishes planning their parties, they might think about the homeless. When the city stops wooing sports teams with stadiums and tax credits, they might stop to think about the homeless. When the city stops defending cops caught stealing tickets, they might stop to think about the homeless. When the city stops acting like jerks, they might stop to think about the homeless. This city is doing NOTHING for the homeless, except to harass them. Democrats lead this city, yet they do nothing for the homeless they are suppose to care about. Democrats simply make the problem worse. Oh sure, they claim to care, and the just might actually get around to thinking about when they might start thinking about the homeless. Do something about the homeless. Stop arresting them for trying to survive!


Asking for money is a free speech right, yet the city knows the homeless cannot afford a lawyer. Deny one person their rights, and the city will come after yours. If some homeless person snarls traffic, arrest them for impeding traffic, not panhandling. If some homeless person gets violent, arrest for assault, but not for asking someone to care about them.

As the weather gets hot, I'll be out there handing people water bottles. I will get harassed by the city for doing this again this year. Arrest me, and I can afford the lawyers to bankrupt the city. Democrats in power are all about harassing people.

Nikki Vacant
Nikki Vacant

I think it's brilliant. And helpful. Sure did bring this issue back into the forefront.

Chris Singer
Chris Singer

That's actually pretty great. Thanks to whoever improved those fucking awful signs.

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

the people here are the most caring...I love this city...Anyone have gas money out of this shithole city?

Evelyn Francis
Evelyn Francis

In no way can you compare anything to that of Auschwitz. Very, very disrespectful. Terrible way to inform people.

Ryan Paluczak
Ryan Paluczak

With all of the spiked areas and cages to prevent the homeless from finding places to sleep, I think this type if activism is warranted. I doubt the signs were created to "help" the homeless, but more to raise awareness and further human rights. It's silly to think this is "sad" or "shameful", it's a valid response to a political shift that targets homeless individuals.

Shannon Simmons
Shannon Simmons

I just saw one of these the other day and took a picture because I thought it was so inappropriate and dehumanizing.

clownybastard
clownybastard

When they finish new improvements it will be #1

Todd Gilliam
Todd Gilliam

What will help is make mr.rice go bye bye and the drug attics will follow a free bed and food. That would help downtown.

Zepel Anderson
Zepel Anderson

It could be worse...at least he did not suggest sending them to Detroit...

obscurehistorybuff
obscurehistorybuff

Technically the "vandals" did that.
Vandalism causes discussion.
But the author of this article can't comprehend that for some reason.

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

@JamesMadison Hey let me know what neighborhood you live in and I'll gather a truckload of these people and drop them off near your house so you and your neighbors can help them directly. Tell me you wouldn't be panicking and freaking out in approximately 2 minutes, you would probably be clutching one of your guns waiting for your big chance to 'defend yourself'. 

I love how so many fucks think that the big bad evil city should do more when the same assholes live in municipalities that don't do a fucking thing, except maybe have their dickhead police departments drive them to city and drop them off. So you help the people who make a career out of warehousing them so they can feature them as props in their jesus based careers, awesome pat yourself on the back some more you half baked 18th century powdered wig worshipper. Fucking idiot.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

@jaco1175 , your compassion for your fellow humans is duly noted. Your worship to the City government is also apparent. Homelessness is not limited to the city. Get out and help someone rather than playing the big bad internet tough guy.

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

@JamesMadison Fucking hilarious, a ron paul disable the safety net libertarian narcissist talking about compassion for his fellow humans, get the fuck out of here before I die laughing. 

Shut the fuck up your paranoid gold bug. I guarantee that this city does far more than whatever pissant burb or backwoods sewer that you infest and your stupid ass wouldn't live there for long if they did. I would bet money that you don't do shit but infect the interwebs with your half baked revolutionary dogshit talk. Passing out water. Bull. Shit.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

@jaco1175, you clearly have no clue what a libertarian is. It is not whether YOU help fellow humans, but whether you will not ask the government to steal money from others to help others. You expect others to do something, but you cannot be bothered to do it yourself. I truly feel sorry for you.

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