Homeless encampment where person was fatally shot Thursday to be shut down
State officials confirmed Friday that the homeless encampment in Minneapolis where a person was shot and killed on Thursday will be shut down.
The camp is located on state property just east of downtown by the 35W and I-94 interchange in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. The decision to close the site comes amid further safety concerns and now finger pointing over what to do about it.
“It’s sad for the people who are being displaced. It’s sad for the community who I know, really wants to help and do the right thing for their neighbors,” said Julie Bluhm, who runs Guild in St. Paul — an organization that provides mental health and housing resources to those in need.
Guild regularly works with people experiencing homelessness and live in encampments.
“If we close it just immediately, which is kind of the gut reaction when something like this happens, you are destroying someone’s home,” she said.
MNDOT said it made the decision to close the encampment “due to increasing safety concerns” following the shooting there Thursday morning.
But other officials blamed the state for waiting so long. In a statement, Minneapolis City Councilmember Jamal Osman said he’s “disgusted at how the state has willfully ignored and disregarded my community.”
MNDOT pushed back on Friday saying that it never received a request to close the encampment.
While no timeline has been established, outreach organizations were already at the encampment on Friday trying to help people get treatment and a safer place to live.
“We want to encourage these guys to come up out of the life they’re living,” said Tomas Walek with East Gate Ministries.
He said there is now urgency to their message after the state’s decision to close the site.
“This camp will move to another location and then they’ll shut that location down, then they’ll move to another location. Eventually we’ll be right back here again,” he said. “Until we start providing answers, real solutions and real answers, this is what this is what’s going to happen.”