By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A homeless encampment in Minneapolis continues to grow, and many are now working diligently to stop the expansion.

The number of tents has more than doubled since a small group of homeless Minnesotans first made this camp near Franklin and Cedar avenues.

Mike Goze passed out lunches to the families who call a growing Minneapolis homeless encampment “home” Friday.

Goze came to the encampment near Franklin and Cedar Avenues with 120 boxed lunches, but it was not enough to feed the growing number of people in need.

“I don’t believe people see the urgency that we have to providing housing to all these folks,” Goze said. “A the time the mayor made his press release, we had about 45 tents there. Now it’s double yesterday. I heard it’s at 145. I don’t know that number for sure, but it has grown.”

Goze says some of the newest members of the encampment are chronically homeless and see camping out at the wall as a way to get housing faster.

“We’ve had a lot of people that for decades have been doubled up, couch hopping and kind of been under the radar,” Goze said.

A number of services are now all in one place to assist those looking for change.

“A client comes in and they fill out a form,” Maren Hardy of American Indian Community Development Corporation said. “This is kind of a release form. It’s for our records only. They sign this, and they sign in, and we ask them what are they here for: Showers, housing, health care?”

This hygiene center has been up for four days.

“The clients come in, we have all the hygiene stuff they need, all the shower stuff they need,” Hardy said.

It’s a place to get a 10-minute shower and access to resources.

“We have housed people; we continue to work with folks, but again, it’s a process,” Goze said.

A process that volunteers say needs the collective efforts of us all to make a difference.

“There are fixes but we need to come together as a whole to figure it out,” Hardy said.

Reg Chapman