3:30am Hilton Hotel, Minneapolis young, pregnant and schizophrenic: 8 of 11 snapshots of a cold night on the streets in MN

I was picking up staff from CBS News at 3:30am at the Hilton next to WCCO in Minneapolis. This young lady was walking down the street seeking warmth. Someone had given her a hotel room key, tempting. She rode with us to St. Paul.
Bootstraps? nope
Family? nope
We have a choice, wrap her like a blanket in help or not.

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4:19am Union Depot, St. Paul Minnesota’s workforce: 7 of 11 snapshots of a cold night on the streets in MN

A homeless Amazon worker once told me, “It’s not that you can’t get a job, it’s that you can’t keep one because you keep falling asleep or getting sick.”

4:18am Union Depot, St. Paul The Gray Hairs: 6 of 11 snapshots of a cold night on the streets in MN

Get a job, go home and listen to your parents, quit drinking…
what is it that we’re supposed to say to the gray hairs who are sleeping on a terrazzo floor, often with canes, walkers and a bag of medicine nearby?

Please support the Homes for All Coalition’s legislative budget, including $15 million for emergency services.

4:07am Union Depot, St. Paul Social worker with a badge and gun: 5 of 11 snapshots of a cold night on the streets in MN

Despite people equating homeless with criminal, many homeless people seek areas in which law enforcement are present. Homeless people are far more often prey than predator. I am grateful for the kindness I witnessed by law enforcement. However, do you believe the best use of skilled protectors is to pass out mittens and granola bars, sometimes en masse, because we don’t plan to shelter people rather create a pop-up when someone deems need? How much did the contents of these photos cost for one night?

3:02am Mall of America Warm thoughts: 4 of 11 snapshots of a cold night on the streets in MN

At least that’s what her hat said. Every bench was a bed at the Mall of America, some shared. The polar vortex is over so MOA will return to closing the transit center at 2am to clear the homeless dwellers.

Please ask your legislator to support the Homes for All Coalition ask of $15 million for the Emergency Services Program this legislative session. The current budget for the entire state is $844,000 for shelter and crisis services.

2:30am Mall of America The apple of your eye: 3 of 11 snapshots of a cold night on the streets in MN

Her husband died long ago but she still wears the ring. Her bible is her companion now.

The opened pages read, “Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me under the shadow of Your wings, from the wicked who oppress me, from the deadly enemies who surround me.”

She’ll stay awake at night to protect herself and sleep during the day on the light rail trains. You won’t notice her if she’s not near her cart. She’s pretty.

2:27am Mall of America The safest place for a lady: 2 of 11 snapshots of a cold night on the streets in MN

People will say, “but there were free Lyft rides and warming centers and I saw it all over social media”. Does she look like she’s tuned into Facebook? Which nights were those warming centers open and which hours? How far is the walk in the morning when they close? When you can’t rely on a stable place, you find the safest place you can.

The Mall of America left its transit center open last night but the Polar Vortex ended today. Shelters are full for women so the safest place for a lady is where men can’t go.