Minneapolis (WCCO) As the weather warms, the number of homeless people increases.
There are tent villages coming up around Minneapolis, including one at 13th Avenue and Sibley Street Northeast, near Sheridan Memorial Park. Tents are also visible from the Quarry Parking near Johnson Street.
Even in residential areas such as South 9th Street, tents sit next to tall buildings and single-family homes.
Hennepin County is coming off an unprecedented year that saw the effort to address homelessness take big steps forward. David Hewitt, director of housing stability, says COVID-19 has made it impossible to count how many people are homeless.
“One out is too many, so we take that as an initial theory,” Hewitt said. “In the midst of a global pandemic, in the midst of civil unrest, you know, after the killing of George Floyd, and all of our services have had to change the way they work and try and meet people’s health needs. Had to, and that transformation has been incredible. “
The change was centered around partnerships with the community, nonprofits and other boots-on-the-ground agencies to identify older homeless people in permanent homes.
“The number for 2020 was 2,165 people, so that’s six people every single day. Just six people move out of homeless and permanent housing every day for 365 days a year, and this is only possible because of those partnerships,” he said.
Up to 100 immigrants live in partners like the Avivo Village project, and 20 now have a permanent place to live.
Culturally specific shelters for indigenous community members, such as the Homeward Bound, are also taking people off the road and into their own places.
“This is a community-wide challenge and the issue requires community resolution, it requires partnerships,” Hewitt said.
He believes these partnerships are making a difference, but a lot more needs to be done because once one person is placed in permanent housing, the other two are needed.
Shelters now operate 24/7, have new ventilation systems, offer food and provide resources that lead to permanent housing.
On any given night, more than 1,000 people in Hennepin County are in need of shelter.
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