From locked out to homeless, a St. Louis rental tragedy

She was robbed on a Thursday, told to get out on Friday, and locked out of her home, with all of her possessions, by Sunday.

Column (Missouri)

Tony Messenger
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
September 17, 2017

Tags: Housing: Eviction

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM)


Despite requirements in state law that landlords must go through a court process to evict tenants, poor people with few places to turn are frequently locked out of their rental properties all over St. Louis, their few possessions taken by landlords.

They are driven deeper into poverty. Often, as Thomas was for several months, they end up homeless.

“It’s happening all over St. Louis,” says attorney Robert Swearingen, with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, the largest legal aid nonprofit agency in the St. Louis region. “It’s epidemic.”