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Neighbors, businesses frustrated, concerned over growing encampment in south Minneapolis

Concerns, frustration over south Minneapolis encampment
Concerns, frustration over south Minneapolis encampment 02:24

MINNEAPOLIS -- Residents in a south Minneapolis neighborhood are asking city leaders for help in dealing with a growing homeless encampment.

This is drone video that a neighbor shared with WCCO of the dozens of nylon tents that sit on a city-owned lot near 29th Strert and 14th Avenue South. This is the fifteenth camp to pop up in the Midtown Phillips neighborhood in just the last year and-a-half.

Neighbors and business owners in they're tired of living next to what they call chaos.

"Hooking up their cell phones to people's electricity, using people's water and not turning off the water when they are done, we've had break ins," said one concerned homeowner.

This neighbor says people who speak out about the encampment are retaliated against, so she did not want her face on television. Still, she wants people to hear what goes on along this city block.

"People loitering in people's yards, constant, constant traffic, constant trash, people using the bathroom in my garden," she said.

Concerned neighbors did meet with city and county officials about the issue back in March of this year. More than 100 people attended. So far, residents say none of the priorities from that meeting have been accomplished.

"Last five weeks really, we go on tough times," said Mahamed Cali, who manages the Median Mall, which sits directly across the street from the encampment.

"That situation create a lot of people not generating good income," Cali said.

Some of the 50 small businesses that make up the Medina Mall have closed, and people have stopped coming because they fear for their safety.

"Really, we are struggling to do business," Cali said. "This is where we do business, it's where we live. On the other side is the biggest Mosque we have in south Minneapolis, and really we have a big challenge." 

City leaders are challenged to find housing for the people living in the tent city and relief for those who live and work nearby.

"We don't know what the solution is, we feel bad for the people, a lot of them are young and a lot of them are girls, " said the concerned neighbor.

The city of Minneapolis responded to WCCO's request for an interview with a statement:

"The city does not provide direct service but connects receptive people to available services and resources via other programs and partner organizations that offer them."

The city-owned site is slated for development. Ten units of housing will serve households at 60% of area median income.

 We don't yet know what will happen to those living on the property now.

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