Work on Housing Those in Mpls. Encampment Going Slowly But Steadily

November 15, 2018 11:12 AM

The Minneapolis encampment where people experiencing homelessness are living has nearly doubled in size since last week. A week ago there were 71 tents and 120 people. As of Wednesday, the numbers were 127 tents and around 191 people.

Aug. 23, Mayor Jacob Frey announced plans to address housing needs, mental and chemical health needs of those living in the camp.

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"That the individuals that are presently at the encampment have every possible service they might need," Frey said.

RELATED: City of Minneapolis Has Plan for Homeless Encampment

It's been difficult for the all the agencies on board to organize as one cohesive group. The difficulty isn't from effort, it's just that there are so many groups, and then you throw in individual people donating at the site and things get a bit cluttered.

"To organize the outreach has probably been the most difficult thing that we've been struggling with. Well, when individuals are in camps throughout the city different groups are doing different types of outreach," Patina Park of the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center said.

Park said the one benefit of having the camp is everyone is in a concentrated location to access them instead of being in camps or hidden throughout the city.

RELATED: MPD's Homeless Project Seeing Success

Now those services will be located out of "the hygiene service area," a white tent, starting Tuesday. Plus folks will be able to shower, access a handicap bathroom and wash clothes.

"To do those kinds of basic human things that make you feel human," Park said.

For the moment, Kat Yanez calls the camp home. But she's looking forward to using the services to get back on her feet.

RELATED: 'Stable Homes, Stable Schools' Would House 650 Homeless Youth Over Next 3 Years

"I can't speak for everybody else but people that do want to do something with their lives should take advantage like myself," Yanez said.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS asked Park about tiny homes as a possible solution. The issue was brought up to Frey and he said the idea wasn't out of the conversation. Park says the city, county and state would all have to agree the idea is worth looking into. She said you have to consider zoning, land and building permits. 

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Todd Wilson

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