ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - The new initiative to help homeless and vulnerable people off the streets during the last few months of bitter cold was created by the Ramsey County Sheriff and other partners.
One deputy signed up hoping to run into her older brother.
Deputy Teri Kinne jumped at the chance to search across Ramsey County under bridges and at train stations to help out the county’s homeless outreach effort.
One night, she did find her brother, but hasn’t seen him since.
Kinne always makes sure to carry a backpack full of warm clothes and supplies anytime she is out on patrol reaching out to the vulnerable community in Ramsey County.
Inside it are gloves, hand warmers and a toiletry kit, but also personal items like homemade chocolate chip cookies from her daughter and a note to her brother John.
The letter reads: “John, always remember you have a family who loves you: Julie, Nancy Pat, Jim, Jody, myself, Joanne. We are all only a phone call away. Please take care of yourself. Love, Teri.”
Kinne’s 53-year-old brother has struggled with addiction issues and mental illness stemming from a traumatic brain injury years ago.
He has been in and out of Kinne’s life for years, surviving in different cities until surfacing in the Twin Cities recently.
“I am thinking of him all the time,” Kinne said. “Our whole family is thinking of him all the time.”
During the first bitter cold snap in the metro back in January, Kinne did run into John when the Ramsey County Detention Center was turned into a makeshift shelter.
“Just exciting to see him,” Kinne recalled. “Relieved that he was okay because I hadn’t seen him.”
She convinced him to take a new jacket because his had holes in it, but she hasn’t seen him since. She will never give up on trying to help him.
“At least me, I go home and I think about it because it’s personal,” she said. “It’s my brother out there that’s in the cold and looking for a place to live.”
Kinne wants her brother and others to know that it’s never too late to get help and turn your life around.
The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office is looking to continue their homeless outreach program to find permanent housing for people not just during the extreme cold.