MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Department of Transportation is installing a safety fence to protect some homeless people encamped alongside Hiawatha Avenue in Minneapolis.

Crews working with MnDOT started working Wednesday morning, placing a fence around the homeless encampment near Franklin and Hiawatha.

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The chain link fencing will protect the people living in tents from flying debris that might kick up from the road when crews plow snow.

The chain-link fence will sit on top of a concrete barrier and will remain in place until the temporary navigation center is up and running.

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(credit: CBS)

Many who work with those experiencing homelessness in the tent city say they thought the people living in tents would have housing before winter.

“There is no out-date right now. I think some of the projections are going into mid-December, but like I said that’s kind of the worst case scenario,” Frank Downwing, of the American Indian Community Development Corporation, said. “I’ve seen some construction happening at the Red Lake site, so it’s just a matter of tearing the building down, capping the land, and then getting the structures up for everybody.”

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The hygiene and resource center across the street will remain open until the temporary navigation center is complete. Until then, many who live there are wondering what will happen to the encampment once inches or feet of snow cover the tents.

Reg Chapman