By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — WCCO took you behind the scenes to see just one night of what hundreds are dealing with inside the Minneapolis homeless encampment that’s just outside of downtown.

We found adults struggling with drug addiction and children running and playing in the night.

“What I really appreciated about the story is the heartfelt nature. These are real people and these are real lives,” Hennepin County deputy county commissioner Jennifer DeCubellis said.

No one from the city of Minneapolis was available for comment.

But DeCubellis said moving the homeless to a temporary navigation center beginning in December will make them safe from the elements, and provide an environment free of drugs, as it will be more regulated.

“The navigation center is a means to the solution, so the longer-term solution that Hennepin County is working on is, how do we create more capacity for affordable housing,” DeCubellis said.

As for how the public can help? DeCubellis recommends donating to Hennepin County shelters, where the homeless can already get help. Bringing food or supplies to the site only creates more of a safety risk. Officials don’t want to encourage people to stay at the camp when there is warm shelter and help available.

Hennepin County health services staffs the camp daily to offer health care, addiction medication and shelter. So far, they have relocated 18 families to shelters.

Three families and 17 adults were moved to supportive housing.

Kate Raddatz