Community forum on Dakota County shelter for single adults

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Moving forward
Easing homelessness in Dakota County
Community Forum
Thursday, August 10, 2017, 6:30pm-8:00pm

Shepherd of the Valley, Lutheran Church —Sanctuary
12650 Johnny Cake Ridge Road, Apple Valley

Have you heard the good news? The Dakota County Emergency Shelter Project is moving forward to help those in our community experiencing homelessness. On average, 50 people seeking shelter are turned away nightly in Dakota County. Thanks to host churches and the broader community, last winter 78 people were served in the Emergency Shelter project.

As a result of these efforts, we as a community have heightened the political and public awareness for those experiencing homelessness in Dakota County. The county is now beginning a planning process to provide a framework to create and operate permanent emergency shelter for a long term solution.

Please join us to learn about plans to open a temporary/rotational shelter by November 1, 2017, identify temporary sites to shelter up to 50 people per night in the coming winter and find a stable site for the future. Together we can provide the resources and support needed to serve our neighbors experiencing homelessness.

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Riding the late night train May 1

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Homeless in Minnesota is a collection of stories, images and thoughts on what life is like on the street in and around Minneapolis and St Paul as documented by homeless advocate Monica Nilsson.

Recently she rode the train in Minneapolis from 10:00pm to 7:30am to see what few of us see. Check out her travels:

Night on the train – a glimpse of homelessness in Minneapolis

Homeless in Minnesota is a collection of stories, images and thoughts on what life is like on the street in and around Minneapolis and St Paul as documented by homeless advocate Monica Nilsson.

On Tuesday May 1, 2017, Monica rode the train in Minneapolis from 10:00pm to 7:30am to see what few of us see. She ventured out again on Tuesday May 30. Check out posts from her latest travels:

To learn more about life without shelter – please join us for a listening session on the lack of safe shelter on Wed, June 7, 4-5:30pm at St. Olaf Catholic Church in Minneapolis.

Get a job

 

The sun will be coming soon and so will the commuters. Do these men from throughout the Twin Cities look prepared to go get a job today? and then there are those who slept in their car, a stairwell, a restaurant, the woods, a garage or stayed up all night and will now sleep in public, much to your dismay should your eyes glance in their direction.

Did you have adequate sleep last night? Will that contribute to how you function today? Without shelter and sleep, we are foolish to think people can have a productive day.

A listening session on the lack of safe shelter will be held Wed, June 7, 4-5:30pm at St. Olaf Catholic Church in Minneapolis. It will be live streamed on Facebook. Homeless folks will have the floor, to speak not sleep. If you are not homeless, please attend and just listen. #mnshelter

Homeless Camp Snoopy

The Mall of America is not just the largest homeless camp in the Twin Cities; it now hosts Homeless Camp Snoopy. It’s 4am and the Transit Station has reopened. It closes every night from 2am-4am to rid itself of homeless people. They process to the trains and go back to sleep. Photojournalist David Joles and I counted 37 folks and one dog departing on the 2am train. That number is the size of a small shelter. For those who are fiscally conservative, the good news is we’re saving $500,000 a year for every 50 people we shelter each night on Metro Transit and at the Mall of America. You’ll have to calculate the cost to the homeless person.

Perhaps not surprisingly, there are more animal shelters than human shelters in the United States. Some may disagree but I think the blind man is as deserving of shelter as his dog.

A listening session on the lack of safe shelter will be held Wed, June 7, 4-5:30pm at St. Olaf Catholic Church in Minneapolis. It will be live streamed on Facebook. Homeless folks will have the floor, to speak not sleep. If you are not homeless, please attend and just listen. #mnshelter

Treat her like a lady

 

Shelter is no longer needed for everyone in the Twin Cities. Winter is over. Do you agree? Are you a woman? It’s 3am and I am sickened to have left women so tired they couldn’t walk without assistance alone on Metro Transit: senior women, young women, mentally or chemically impaired women. Last week, our legislature passed $8.75 million dollars in funding to update the Metro Transit station at the Mall of America, in part because the Super Bowl is coming. And what of those breathing fixtures at our Mall? Just under $1 million dollars passed for shelter operations statewide for a year. That will fund 2 shelters in the state. If you are a woman, I appeal to you to look at each of these women and ask what you can do to help.

A listening session on the lack of safe shelter will be held Wed, June 7, 4-5:30pm at St. Olaf Catholic Church in Minneapolis. It will be live streamed on Facebook. Homeless folks will have the floor, to speak not sleep. If you are not homeless, please attend and just listen. #mnshelter

7:30am Seeing what’s pretty: A night on a train

We met in the Mall of America bathroom this morning, the only one I found unlocked in the past 10 hours of traveling from Minneapolis to St. Paul to Bloomington over and over on the Metro Transit light rail with people who sought shelter and were turned away after 120 shelter beds closed in Hennepin County because the colder months have passed. They also traveled from Dakota, Anoka and other counties who lack adequate shelter.

You learn not to drink water when you are without shelter. She’s new to being homeless. She asked if the Mall of America is open now. She’d like to see the pretty things. Have you seen Nickelodeon Universe when only maintenance and homeless people access it? It’s still pretty.

Can you see from my light rail photo who the homeless people are?

And so it begins, another day where those without shelter and those who just came from it start a new day, hoping to be surrounded by the pretty things: no panhandlers, no rough sleepers, no poverty. What would I like to see? What’s honorable not what’s pretty. Let’s stop reaching around the hard stuff and acting on the easy charity. We need to identify new shelter sites throughout the metro area and fund them, sheltering people until our infrastructure includes an adequate amount of housing for all.

6:30am To protect and serve and act as an alarm clock: A night on the train

Like their brothers protecting and serving at another end of light rail lines, Bloomington Police, Mall of America Police and Metro Transit Police wake the slumbering sheltered at the MOA to ensure they are medically stable. Rested? No. Medically stable? At the moment. Good use of law enforcement funding? They don’t kick homeless folks out so the snoring returns as some of the 8000 Mall of America employees begin their work day.