September 12, 2018 06:23 PM
Minneapolis city leaders are trying to determine how to help the 300-plus people living in a homeless encampment on the south side of the city.
The site is located on a narrow strip near Hiawatha and East Franklin avenues and it is growing bigger by the day.
Over the weekend a woman living in the encampment died of health complications which highlighted health and safety concerns for the people living there.
The goal is to relocate most of the people living in the encampment by October.
"I hope you guys can help us get housing before it gets cold," said one encampment resident at the city's Housing Police and Development Committee meeting.
"We want to see action, not broken promises anymore," said James Allen Cross who runs Natives Against Heroin and has been helping organize residents at the encampment.
The city has created a task force to address immediate needs, and also address the larger, long-term issues of affordable housing and public health.
Some of the immediate actions they are recommending include adding portable toilets and hand-washing stations and installing lights and cameras to enhance public safety. The city is also adding additional temporary outreach workers to accelerate shelter placements.
The task force is also recommending opening a new "navigation center" in the next few weeks. The navigation center would be a short-term, low barrier location with comprehensive services and support.
They are looking for locations, like schools or warehouses, as well as funding sources and funding partners.
City leaders have looked around the country at how other cities handle similar scenarios.
In San Diego, they have built industrial tents. In cities like Detroit and Nashville, they have built tiny home or micro-home villages.
Committee chair Cam Gordon said he wants a report on Sept. 20 detailing the timeline, the costs and the funding sources.
Updated: September 12, 2018 06:23 PM
Created: September 12, 2018 05:05 PM
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