Officials break up Maplewood homeless encampment where man drowned

Officials break up Maplewood homeless encampment where man drowned Photo: KSTP-TV.

Kyle Brown
Updated: July 09, 2020 07:49 PM
Created: July 09, 2020 06:03 PM

Maplewood officials disbanded a homeless encampment on Thursday that the city claims was a threat to public health and safety.

The action to break up the camp behind the Ramsey County Library in Maplewood comes after a homeless person living there drowned in a nearby pond. His body was found days later. Residents were given 24 hours to vacate the area, according to a statement.

Before the encampment was dissolved, city and county agencies were conducting routine checks on the area and provided residents with food, portable toilets and handwashing stations, according to a statement.

Earlier this year, Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order that stopped cities from breaking up homeless encampments during the pandemic unless they posed a threat to residents or another housing solution was in place.

Officials say the situation at the encampment had "quickly deteriorated." Along with the drowning, the city cited an uptick in emergency calls for assaults and disturbances along with the pileup of trash and debris.

Between six and 15 people lived at the camp at any given time, the city said.

The city told KSTP the former residents of the encampment are being housed in hotels in the area until a longer-term housing solution is in place.

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