MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Efforts are underway to clear out a homeless encampment that sits in the heart of one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Minneapolis.

More than a dozen people called the woods next to the Lake of the Isles dog park home. Darcy Gladis says it was late October when she realized someone was living in the woods next to her favorite dog park.

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“It was just like one little tent then, and it’s definitely grown,” Gladis said.

Minneapolis Park Police were made aware of the encampment last week. The park board says it is working with community partners to find the people who are sleeping outside somewhere to go.

(credit: CBS)

John Tribbett with St. Stephen’s Human Services says the problem of homelessness starts upstream.

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“It’s not surprising that the Lake of the Isles encampment popped up. It was rather small, five, six individuals, maybe seven, eight max, and they go like people like to go, places where they are safe,” Tribbett said. “We have one of the higher occupancy rates in the country there just simply is not enough affordable housing.”

Tribbett says the average person working a fast food job cannot afford an efficiency apartment in the city. He says the lack of affordable housing and shelters at capacity, is a big reason the number of homeless people in Minneapolis is on the rise.

“We had 1,023 people who were in shelters last week and still we have hundreds of people who are outside,” Tribbett said.

”Obviously, there is concern for their safety and stuff like nobody should be outside in this weather,” Gladis said.

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The people who lived here now have a new place to sleep. The land is owned by the park board, and it says the debris left behind will be cleared out in the next few days.

Reg Chapman