MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There is a glimmer of hope for some of the people living in a Minneapolis homeless camp.
The encampment near Cedar and Franklin avenues, which residents have named “The Wall of Forgotten Natives,” has grown beyond its initial corner. There are now tents on a median surrounded by traffic along Franklin Avenue. And as the site continues to grow, so do the concerns with winter-like weather approaching.
“The weather really is the big unknown,” said Mike Goze, CEO of the American Indian Community Development Corporation. “How long can people live in an area with very little shelter?”
His organization is one of many working to get the homeless residents safer and warmer housing.
“It’s easy to buy property. Sustaining the property is the real big issue,” Goze said.
One solution has arrived. Goze’s organization bought a property in south Minneapolis at 2408 4th Avenue South. It formerly was the Kateri Residence, which housed Native American women and children.
AICDC recently secured $200,000 in state funds through the Group Residential Housing Program. The money will pay for 12 people at the camp to live in the housing unit for a year.
“Twelve people seems like a little drop in the bucket, but it makes a world of difference to the people that will be housed,” Goze said.
The city of Minneapolis approved relocating the homeless campers to land donated by the Red Lake Nation last month. They would stay at a temporary navigation center, which still needs to be built after other buildings would be torn down. But Goze said the earliest it would be ready is December.
He said the HSA tent, where campers currently get services like medical treatment and hot showers, won’t make it to November.
“If there’s a beauty to a tragedy like this is that there are a lot organizations that have come together,” Goze said. “A lot people have come, you know, up to the plate to make life a little bit easier.”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was not available for comment when we attempted to get an update on the temporary navigation center.
Goze said case managers from several organizations will determine which 12 people will transition to the new housing. The property is being rehabbed right now. He said the 12 could move in as soon as mid-October.