Last Resort for Unhoused Residents
The Powderhorn Park neighborhood, like many neighborhoods within North & South Minneapolis, are seeing, wrestling with, and in some cases attempting to support one element of the housing crisis across Minneapolis. This centers on roughly several thousand people experiencing homelessness in the city, which results in some taking shelter in various outdoor spaces. Outdoor encampments are a last resort form of shelter and there are approximately 100 within the City of Minneapolis.
Around June 10th, some unhoused residents began to occupy tents within Powderhorn Park as a form of shelter. On June 17th, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB) passed Resolution 2020-253 declaring parks within the system a refuge for persons experiencing homelessnes, resulting in them becoming sanctuaries. On July 15th, the MPRB adopted resolution 2020.267 (amending resolution 2020.253 that allowed all Minneapolis Parks to be used as Sanctuaries) limiting the number of sanctuaries, tents per sanctuary, and require organizers to obtain a permit.
Residents at the Powderhorn Sanctuary are receiving varying degrees of support for food and volunteer coordination, and ongoing calls for government representatives to own driving solutions by organizers of the Minneapolis Sanctuary Movement. You can learn more about the Minneapolis Sanctuary Movement from the organizers at minneapolissanctuary.org/
What Are The Needs?
There are both immediate, short-term, and long-term needs identified by sanctuary organizers, unsheltered residents, and the broader community:
Expand sanctuary efforts to provide adequate resources and space to follow CDC guidelines concerning COVID-19, including, but not limited to, handwashing stations, showers and running water at all sanctuaries.
This includes providing resources to support new and existing sanctuary spaces to continue to minimize growth at Powderhorn
Staff support from a culturally-relevant organization to coordinate Sanctuary efforts including safety, supplies, services, and volunteers
Repurpose hotels or other existing structure as indefinite emergency housing, made accessible to people with disabilities including mental illness and substance use disorders
Ensure that all people in Minneapolis have access to dignified housing they can afford. This will require continued and persistent advocacy efforts to ensure the housing stock matches the needs of our community.
As outlined in Hennepin County’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, the following goals must be met
Provide coordinated outreach
Develop housing opportunities
Improve service delivery
Build capacity for self-support
Implement system improvements
How Did We Get Here?
A variety of factors and events over the last several decades have contributed to a homelessness crisis in Minneapolis. Some of those factors are described below:
The City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, and the State of Minnesota have not acknowledged that encampments are part of our current shelter strategy and have not resourced them as such
Organizers and volunteers with few resources are now attempting to meet a need that government agencies have refused to meet
For decades, communities like South Minneapolis have been grossly under-resourced despite being ground zero for a variety of health and humanitarian crises including the opioid epidemic, hepatitis A outbreak, and an affordable housing crisis.
Your Voice Matters!
Every voice must join in calling for the healthy community we deserve.
Over 300 Powderhorn Park residents have signed PPNA’s petition calling for government action to house sanctuary residents and provide resources
About three dozen community members have emailed PPNA directly to express a wide range of concerns over the Powderhorn Sanctuary. These include frustration with the use of the park for shelter without long-term housing solutions in sight, and impacts to overall livability and safety.
We encourage you to share your feedback with us. Leave a comment, concern, or suggestion here.
What is PPNA Doing?
As a neighborhood association, PPNA works to represent the diverse voices of the community and advocate for overall community health. Here’s what you can expect from us:
Ongoing engagement with the city, county, and state to advocate for immediate, short-term, and long-term resources
Weekly email updates about what we know about the Sanctuary (sign up here: ppna.org/signup). You can also see these archived on our blog.
Bi-Weekly listening sessions via zoom: Register Here
Continued requests for the community to share their input and lend their voice to the needed change
References for More Information
June 24th Email: Updates + Actions https://www.ppna.org/so/bfNBdbqaQ#/main
July 1st Email: We’re Still Waiting https://www.ppna.org/so/79NCA_c1d#/main
Open Plea to Elected and Appointed Leaders: https://www.ppna.org/post/_7120
June 17th MPRB Resolution declaring Parks as Sanctuary: https://www.minneapolisparks.org/news/2020/06/19/mprb-commissioners-pass-resolution-allowing-people-currently-experiencing-homelessness-to-stay-in-minneapolis-parks/
10-Year Plan to End Homelessness: https://www.hennepin.us/-/media/hennepinus/your-government/projects-initiatives/end-homelessness/end-homelessness-10-year-plan.pdf?la=en&hash=FD94A0C88A32F0F0BF755C51BD61BA1B6FC22280
Hennepin Healthcare Envision Community https://www.hennepinhealthcare.org/envision-community/
Star Tribune “Nowhere Else to Go” https://www.startribune.com/minneapolis-homeless-forced-out-of-a-hotel-face-uncertain-future/571231192/
WCCO “Minneapolis Park Board Opens Parks As Refuge For People Experiencing Homelessness” https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2020/06/18/minneapolis-park-board-opens-parks-as-refuge-for-people-experiencing-homelessness/
KSTP “Neighbors work to support homeless, find housing solution as encampment pops up in Powderhorn Park” https://kstp.com/news/neighbors-work-to-support-homeless-find-housing-solution-as-encampment-pops-up-in-powderhorn-park/5759333/
KARE11 “Powderhorn Homeless Camp Future Up for Debate” https://www.kare11.com/article/news/community/powederhorn-homeless-camp-future-up-for-debate/89-0a30a5d2-8321-4fb4-98b8-4742a5aba372