Minneapolis Park Board seeks help, clear protocol for possible homeless encampments in 2021
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is looking at new ways to help people experiencing homelessness as the summer of 2021 approaches.
In 2020, the MPRB established a permit process for people who needed shelter and wanted to put up tents in city parks, as the COVID-19 pandemic made shelters less safe.
The MPRB is looking at a plan to move away from the permit process, for now, and intends to reach out to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners and the state of Minnesota for help in establishing new protocols for possible encampments in 2021.
Rhonda Otteson, executive director of the Minnesota Homeless Coalition, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the growing number of people without permanent shelter or homes needs coordinated efforts but also requires long-range solutions.
"There is a need for tens of thousands of beds across the state of Minnesota right now," Otteson said. "We do need to build more shelters, but also get a renewed commitment from the state Legislature to put more investments into housing."
Otteson said 80 out of the state’s 87 counties need additional shelters for people, and her organization, along with other advocates for the homeless, will seek about $120 million from lawmakers to help build shelters and housing.
"Housing is the cornerstone for people to move out of homelessness," Otteson said. "It’s housing across the board. It can be deeply affordable housing for low-income people, people who are veterans, children, people with disabilities, families and adults."