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Vote To Determine Homeless Camp's New Location Delayed

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Storms hammered the homeless encampment in south Minneapolis overnight, leaving many to clean up and dry out Friday.

While the people who call this tent city home hung clothes, blankets and sleeping bags out to dry, the Minneapolis City Council was voting to determine the fate of the growing encampment.

As Reg Chapman shows us, that decision will have to wait until next week.

Cold rain, brisk winds and flooding took over the homeless encampment along Franklin and Hiawatha Avenues. A thin tent is the only thing separating the people inside from the elements.

"Sitting in your tent huddled together in order to stay warm because it's raining – it's horrible," said Maren Hardy, of the American Indian Community Development Corporation.

While many who live in the encampment spent the day drying out, many also paid close attention to the vote by Minneapolis City Council.

"It's frustration, it's sadness," Hardy said. "But it's also pride to say, 'This is our neighborhood, this is where we are from, why do you think we want to go to another neighborhood where people obviously Minnesota nice does not want us."

Opposition from residents near the two sites forced members of the council to postpone voting on where to move the encampment.

"That was a right decision because they were about to make a wrong decision," said Mike Goze, CEO of the American Indian Community Development Corporation.

Goze says many who call this place home want housing in their native community.

"Plus, the fact that you'd have to cross Hiawatha and the light rail really lends it to be more dangerous than not," Goze said.

Mayor Jacob Frey met with leadership from 10 of the 11 Minnesota tribes and Gov. Mark Dayton to discuss alternatives and are exploring another site -- land owned by the Red Lake Nation.

The site at 2109 Cedar Avenue South was slated to be redeveloped for affordable housing. Frey hopes something can be decided quickly. The new site is a 1.5-acre parcel of land.

The Red Lake Nation says it is willing to work with the city to get affordable housing built on the site as soon as possible.


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