Salvation Army officials admit there are blemishes, but defend its Harbor Light Center in midtown St. Louis against criticism that it fosters homosexual activity, drug trafficking and loitering. The Salvation Army has been receiving letters from businesses and residents in the area, mostly complaining that some of the men hanging around the center are not drug addicts and the poor seeking help as much as male prostitutes seeking business, dope heads seeking another hit and rootless men seeking a refuge from work. Added to the mix is the fact that the city has its eye on redeveloping the area and finds Harbor Light to be an obstacle to those plans. A spokesman for the Salvation Army acknowledges some of the criticism is valid, but insists that if the Salvation Army didn’t keep a presence there the situation would grow worse. He says removing Harbor Light doesn’t remove the problem and that the shelter does the best it can to combat the problems.
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