Homelessness in Minneapolis

Minnesota is ranked 16th for homelessness. You may be asking yourself what that means. In 2020, Minnesota had approximately 8,000 experiencing homelessness. This includes those unsheltered, sheltered, in hotels, or suffering from chronic homelessness. California is the leading state with the highest homeless rate with approximately 152,000 homeless. The difference of amount is what ranks us sixteenth and what ranks california as first.

Within the state of Minnesota, Minneapolis has a high amount of homeless in one area. It is quite obviously a problem. Not because there are homeless around our parks and schools. It’s the fact that the number of homeless are increasing, especially with the pandemic. This is an issue that needs to addressed. We need to take a step and act to help the community around us. If we don’t, the problem will only get worse.

Minneapolis’s Population of Homeless

There are many homeless encampments throughout the city of Minneapolis. The one that is most populous is the Powderhorn Park encampment. Homeless were evicted out of neighboring hotels suddenly after George Floyd’s killing. They were forced to venture for new shelter which landed them to the nearest park, Powderhorn. Currently, there are about 550 tents at this park. The people’s response was welcoming and full of helping hands. Volunteers, neighbors, and organizations rushed in to care for the homeless that was quickly evolving. Organizations started organzing funds to donate the bare necessities. Elected officals seemed to be overlooking this blaring issue as if it weren’t a problem. These volunteers advocated for the homeless and demanded help from policymakers of the city and state.

Problems still lingered despite these efforts. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, Governor Tim Walz sent $6 million of relief to the Minnesota Zoo. Money that could have been better utilized for the homeless. Now that the eviction moratorium has been lifted, those not eligible for the COVID-19 emergency relief can be evicted. This is worrisome because this means the homeless population will climb even higher as people and families are evicted from their homes. Protestors took this issue of ignorance into their own hands and camped outside of the govenors residence to advocate for the homeless and the funds they undeniably deserve.

City’s Response

As encampments started growing, the concerns from the surrounding community arose. Residents complained to the city and county because the encampment was mere feet from passing cars, and between two alternative high schools, prompting one to end in-person schooling and go online. They said people openly sold and consumed drugs and walked into traffic.

As a response to these concerns, the city began a clearing out process that affected many encampments. This act ultimately displaced the homeless residing there. The recent clear outs were the North Loop and Powderhorn encampments in Minneapolis. This upset both homeless and activists, so they took this into their own hands to protest this ugly act.

Activists confronted police and expressed the lack of understanding about homelessness. These activists were quick to inform them that not enough is being done for those who need a home the most, which is true. The city isn’t helping, it’s only making the problem worse. The clear outs are based on crime in the area that residents report and the deterioration of the area. These are baseless accusations and the city needs to realize that there is no proven correlation. It’s just a mask for the ugly truth of their feelings. Generalizations are drawn from the homeless population way to often. It’s time to stop and implement programs that will actually help the homeless and not drag them down further.

In order to change other people’s mindsets on the issue of homelessness, we need to bring awareness. Protestors are doing one thing that has made an impact, they are marching for the homeless that have died due to the homeless conditions. The frigid cold being the top cause of their deaths. Even though the tempature was below freezing on December 19 – the day of the march – they still followed through. This is only proving that they are desparate for awareness, and for help. I agree with them. The signs have names, ages, and locations. This personalization will impact those not aware of the cause substantially, hopefully,

Minnesota’s Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness

The state of Minnesota realizes that everyone should be treated equal. For the homeless, this means providing stable homes, employment, and resources for their overall well-being.If this is provided, the community will only prosper.

The state’s main program is called Heading Home Together, which was presented in Minnesota’s 2018-2020 action plan to prevent and end homelessness. This plan is different that the last that was proposed. This one urges for all minnesotans to take part in this cause. If we realize our awareness contributes to the prevention and end to homelessness, we can make a difference. We all play a role in this action plan and we will continue too, especially me.

I admire what the state is trying to do here. The city’s response has been extremely negative and something I do not agree with. The only aspect I agree with is the positive advocacy. The state realizes the issues with this community of homeless. There is nothing for them. Nothing is provided or noticed by the city other than the crime in their area that residents pick on because they are uncomfortable for no good reason. This plan does the complete opposite and urges minnesotans to fulfill their role. The one thing we can do to make a change.

If more acts like this were implemented, the awareness could change the game. Influence from protestors would ultimately affect the city’s decision process when it comes to the homeless. Maybe funds will be allocated to the population, or donations will be made. If we try hard enough, we can make a change that’ll impact a community that needs love and comfort. I believe in helping the homeless and I hope you do as well after reading this.

Resources

https://www.fox9.com/news/protesters-gather-at-powderhorn-park-after-homeless-encampment-asked-to-vacate

https://mn.gov/dhs/heading-home-minnesota/

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