Updates + Actions: Powderhorn Sanctuary
PPNA is hearing two sets of themes from residents related to the park sanctuary. Supporting a path for dignified housing for all is overdue + essential, and this work of sharing space differently is frustrating + hard. All of these feelings are real, and every person's voice matters. The association will continue to strive to help amplify every need and every concern in an effort to secure the long-overdue resources and support that gets us closer to modeling housing as a human right, which supports a healthier and hopefully more connected community.
We will consolidate and provide updates regarding the Powderhorn Sanctuary weekly.
The sanctuary space uses a harm reduction approach to safety. You can learn more about what harm reduction means and how it works at: https://harmreduction.org/about-us/principles-of-harm-reduction/
There is a large sharps disposal box located near the Medical tents by each main tent area. There are several individual sharps containers around the sites as well.
Volunteers are walking around the park regularly to assist in cleaning up needles, trash, and other debris.
On Wednesday, June 17th, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board passed a resolution declaring all Minneapolis parks as sanctuary spaces. No individual or volunteer organizer has the ability to exclude or remove people from any park space.
When new neighbors show up at Powderhorn Sanctuaries, they are being informed that the current resources are at capacity and are encouraged to understand what other options they may have. Again, all Minneapolis parks are currently sanctuary spaces for unhoused community members.
Some nonprofit organizations like St. Stephens, Avivo, Mad Dads, and AIM have already offered and provided support at the sanctuary sites
PPNA and sanctuary organizers are working to coordinate supportive services from the City and County. We currently do not know how many supportive service workers will be deployed to support sanctuary residents on an ongoing basis.
State Senators Jeff Hayden, Patricia Torres Ray, Scott Dibble, and Kari Dziedzic introduced bill S.F. No. 160 during the recent Senate Special Session that calls for action and resources to develop an immediate solution to “...relocate and reduce the homeless encampment in Powderhorn Park, and to develop mid-term and long-term solutions to homelessness; appropriating money.” Although the bill did not advance in this session, this acknowledgement by State leaders can help further the case for additional funding and support from City and County leaders.
There are a variety of complex needs for the residents of the sanctuary, and many resources are needed to secure appropriate homes for everyone.
A group of volunteer organizers are supporting decision-making at each sanctuary site. PPNA is not leading this work.
You can find information from this group of volunteer leaders at https://www.facebook.com/minneapolissanctuaryhotel/
There are many potential solutions that have been identified by sanctuary residents, organizers, and elected officials. These include but are not limited to:
Purchasing and operating hotel space
Tiny Home communities
Increased case management to meet needs of residents on a case-by-case basis
Utilization of city-owned property
PPNA generally is supportive of solutions or combinations of solutions that a) address the realities of our unsheltered community members and their needs, and b) are fully resourced
What can I do?
If you see a needle, either safely pick it up and dispose of it in a sharps container (located at our medic tent), or let a volunteer know.
If you have the time to volunteer or resources to make a donation, visit bit.ly/PPSanctuarySignUp
Look for advocacy opportunities, particularly those from Minneapolis Sanctuary Movement.