St. Paul officials continue effort to shelter hundreds as winter officially begins

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St. Paul city officials expect to move those living in an encampment along Kellogg Boulevard downtown on Monday.

It’s part of the city’s effort to move people into shelters as winter officially begins.

There has been a recent rise in encampment fires as people use propane tanks and other unsafe heating solutions to keep themselves warm.

The Kellogg camp is just one of eight sites that are considered high risk and will have to close. Nonprofit groups will help people there move to a warmer and safer place Monday morning.

St. Paul leaders said it’s their priority to help nearly 300 people experiencing homelessness across the city find a shelter.

St. Paul working through weekend to help shelter more than 300 people as cold advances

As the temperatures drop, there are more dangers.

At the Kellogg camp, where about 40 people are living, a St. Paul Fire Department report shows over 15 fire calls, 25 medical responses, and numerous fire hazards cited since late November

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS talked with St. Paul’s Deputy Mayor St. Paul Jaime Tincher last week, who said officials will continue to connect those who are experiencing homelessness with services and resources.

Two city facilities—Harriet Island Pavilion and the Duluth and Case Recreation Center—are available now for emergency overnight shelter.

The closed Bethesda Hospital, which should open within the next couple weeks, will add nearly 200 new beds for people in need.

"The truth is we do have beds available; we’ve worked really hard to make beds, make spaces, to make rooms available,” Tincher said. “They’re available and we need to people to take us up on those options.”

In recent weeks, city leaders have visited the camps, making wellness checks.

Volunteers are also handing out gloves and socks as this transition begins.

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