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'Give Folks A Chance': Nonprofit Urging Landlords To Help Minneapolis Homeless Camp Residents

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Snow is now covering the homeless encampment along Hiawatha and Franklin avenues in Minneapolis.

That snow, along with colder temps, make finding housing even more important.

The Red Lake Nation is now partnering with AVIVO to get these people out of cold tents and into warm housing.

With single-digit wind chills and blowing snow, the elements are stacking up against people who only have a thin layer of nylon separating them from the cold.

"We brought some clothes, some blankets," said volunteer Margie Cole. "They need blankets, they need propane heaters. They've got a baby in this tent, cute little guy, 3 years old."

Volunteers are doing what they can to help.

"They're sharing the heater between the tents to keep warm," said volunteer Jarry Cole. "One heater shared between two tents."

Some man fires, while others make sure that donations go to benefit all.

"People are cold, they're tired, they're not sleeping, they're not eating and they're just really being impacted," said AVIVO Service Area Director Emily Bastian.

AVIVO is an organization that helps people who face barriers achieve recovery and economic stability.

Homeless Encampment Snow
(credit: CBS)

"We are working with Red Lake [Nation] to do our best to provide housing to at least 100 individuals who are living at the encampment, whether it be single adults or families," Bastian said.

AVIVO has 40 case workers on the ground, working with people in the tents and its network of landlords to find housing.

Marjorie Garcia is one of 16 people that AVIVO and Red Lake Nation have gotten out of a tent and into a home.

"I figure if I hadn't run into these ladies I'd still be homeless," Garcia said. "They helped me get everything I needed, and in 30 days I had a place."

Garcia landed in a building owned by Beacon Interfaith in St. Paul. She has a case manager that helps to make sure she stays on the right path. Beacon's dorm-like rooms are a step in the right direction. Permanent housing is next.

AVIVO hopes other landlords reach out and help get people in from the cold.

"Give folks a chance," Bastian said. "Look at the full picture and not just the person on paper, but to meet them and talk with them, and find out who they are and who they're going to be as a renter."

Six more people have been approved and will be moved from the homeless encampment in the next few days.

AVIVO and Red Lake Nation are looking for landlords willing to give people a chance at a better life.

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