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.