Minneapolis City Council members offer bold plan to improve encampments
Minneapolis City Council Vice President Aisha Chughtai and City Council colleagues Jason Chavez and Aurin Chowdhury are offering up three proposed ordinances that would transform the way the city handles homeless encampments.
When Camp Nenookaasi was shut down by the city on Jan. 4, the city was not required by code to notify the residents of the homeless encampment ahead of time because it was considered a public health issue.
Chughtai would like to see that changed to require the city to give a minimum notice ahead of time before an eviction like Camp Nenookaasi could happen in the future.
“It will be very specific in the amount of time, and that’s both for the benefit of residents who are living in that space to tell them,’OK, you need to start a plan of where you’re going to go next,’ and it’s for the benefit of our service providers,” Chughtai said.
Council Member Chavez told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS his proposed ordinance would allow around-the-clock temporary spaces, similar to what is done in Denver. The locations would be comprised of small, individual shelters or tents, and an organization would have to apply for a conditional use permit to operate it.
“A nonprofit, for example, could apply to have a location sanctioned. A church, for example, if they want to have it in their parking lot, could apply,” Chavez said. “So this is a policy that has broad support from people with many differing opinions, and I believe this, at a minimum, is something that can unite our residents.”
The ordinances will be presented this week to the City Council and then be assigned to committees for further consideration and public comments in the coming weeks.