Coalition recommends next steps for encampment response
A City-community led coalition working on a response to the Franklin/Hiawatha homeless encampment outlined a series of recommendations Sept. 12 to the City Council’s Housing Policy & Development Committee, including plans for a new navigation center providing emergency transitional services for those hardest to connect to traditional shelter housing.
The coalition’s goal is to have the navigation center in place by the beginning of October. The center will have emergency shelter beds along with basic healthcare and support services. Site options are under review.
As for a longer-term solution, the coalition has also recommended a new 50-60 bed transitional housing program geared toward Native Americans experiencing chronic homelessness. It is working on identifying site options and developing programming that emphasizes cultural and trauma-informed healing practices along with traditional case management needs.
The Housing Policy & Development Committee passed a staff direction calling for a report on an implementation plan for one or more navigation centers by Sept. 20 and an update on one or more transitional housing options by Oct. 24.
Additional efforts underway leading up to the closure of the encampment include:
- Contracting to provide culturally and trauma-informed healing at the hygiene service area created by the American Indian Community Development Corp.
- Mobilizing additional outreach workers to facilitate assessment and referral services.
- Coordinating to provide temporary storage solutions for encampment residents and people facing homelessness throughout the city.
- Working with health care organizations to provide vaccinations and testing for infectious diseases and create more mobile and agile medical assistance at the hygiene service area.
The coalition has also affirmed a commitment to working on ending chronic homelessness by focusing on several strategies, including supporting different approaches to increasing access to affordable housing and supportive housing programs.
To date, outreach efforts at the encampment have focused on harm reduction strategies to improve health, hygiene and sanitation at the encampment along with outreach and housing referrals to emergency and supportive housing. More than 100 housing assessments have been made at the encampment, which have resulted in 35 housing referrals.
City’s coalition partners
- Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors
- Natives Against Heroin
- American Indian Community Development Corp.
- Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center
- Indigenous Peoples Task Force
- Minnesota Department of Transportation
- People Incorporated
- Native American Community Clinic
- Community University Health Care Clinic
- Minneapolis American Indian Center
- Native American Development Institute
- American Indian OIC
- Southside Harm Reduction
- Minnesota Department of Health
- Hennepin County
- Stephen’s Human Services
- Indian Health Board
Published Sep 13, 2018