MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The City of Minneapolis is officially working with the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians to relocate a homeless encampment.

The Red Lake Nation offered up land just east of the homeless encampment to build a temporary navigation center, and housing for the people currently living in tents. The decision comes after the council was split on two other potential sites.

But this first hurdle, deciding where to re-locate the encampment, is finally out of the way. City leaders admit there’s no perfect site, but in this emergency situation, a decision had to be made.

Indigenous tribal leaders from across Minnesota offered their resources to help the dozens of people sleeping in tents near Hiawatha and Franklin Avenues.

“If we come together and not only talk about solutions, but bring resources to the table, that we can come up with some meaningful solutions,” Red Lake Nation Tribal Leader Sam Strong said.

The Red Lake Nation is offering up a 1.5 acre parcel of land just east of the encampment, near 2109 Cedar Avenue S. The current buildings need to be remediated, then torn down to make way for a temporary navigation center and housing.

“What we’re concerned with is how many people will find a suitable location before the cold weather comes,” LaDonna Redmond said. “Right now we can’t wait for them to tear down buildings and put up new buildings and bring in tents and things like that, we have to have an intermediate approach.”

LaDonna Redmond supports the Red Lake Nation, but believes something needs to be done immediately.

Her son, Wade, is one of two people who died in the homeless encampment.

“My son died from his drug addiction. His homelessness was related to his drug addiction,” Redmond said.

Redmond hopes her Good Samaritan initiative will help fill the void.

“What I’m looking for is 20 to 30 churches who will take 20 people overnight for the rest of the winter and beyond while we figure out what to do about affordable housing,” Redmond said.

There is an existing tenant at the Cedar Avenue site, so work can’t begin until they move. Red Lake believes if permits are issued quickly, it will take six weeks to get the site ready.

They have to report back to council by Oct. 24. Until then, Redmond hopes to get churches, synagogues and Mosques to help shelter people.

Reg Chapman