by Evan Stambaugh
The number of families dealing with homelessness in Hennepin County has more than tripled in just one year.
Hennepin County recently released a report showing that 217 families were sleeping in shelters last month — a whopping 268% increase from mid-November 2021, KSTP reported.
Many families, according to the report, have been furnished with hotel rooms because demand for shelter space exceeds capacity.
Steve Horsfield, executive director of Simpson Housing Services, told KSTP that the availability of “affordable, sustainable units” remains “too low” and the cost of rent “too high.”
“It’s a frightening landscape that we’re seeing families face in the Twin Cities at this point,” he said.
Homelessness has even been affecting the lives of Hennepin County families who are not personally homeless.
In July an encampment of around 100 homeless people was cleared from the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis. Just prior to their removal, three homes in the neighborhood burned to the ground, and one resident “connected to the city” had their home ransacked.
This past weekend a homeless encampment at Lake St. and Hiawatha Ave. in south Minneapolis was also cleared. Alpha News captured footage of the encampment teardown this past Friday and then the cleared scene the following day. Police officers were seen in the area while individuals took down their tents and packed up their belongings.
The encampment was right near the Metro light-rail line that runs parallel to Hiawatha Ave. The city of Minneapolis is partnering with Hennepin County to redesign the intersection of Lake and Hiawatha and add more space for bikers, walkers, and people taking public transportation.
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Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.
Photo “Homeless Camp” by Alpha News.