MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Natives Against Heroin and supporters of the group are gathering and looking for solutions following the closure of a homeless shelter earlier this week.

The Navigation Center was created as a temporary solution to help those living at the Hiawatha encampment this past winter. It closed Monday.

Natives Against Heroin Founder James Cross wonders if its closing may have sparked a recent rash of overdoses in the city. He sees a need for more Narcan, a life-saving drug that can reverse the effects of an overdose.

“I have a whole bag of Narcan, but we can do what we can do. That’s why we wanted to bring awareness … but you see how our community is. It’s really sad that no one wants to step up and say, ‘Enough is enough,'” Cross said.

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Police responded to 50 overdoses from May 28 to June 3. The numbers continued to climb through the week.

Without the Navigation Center, Cross says some are back living on the streets.

“How do you help them when they are hiding in the woods or way down in the creek, in the river? How do you help when they don’t have phones?” said Cross.

On Saturday afternoon, people met to pray and share a meal together. They hope this small demonstration serves as a sign that more change is needed.

“We want to work with everybody. We want to do it in a good way so people get help,” said Cross.

Permanent housing is expected to be built at the Navigation Center site.

Mary McGuire

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