City of Minneapolis looks to hire security for encampments

The City of Minneapolis is looking to hire round-the-clock security for homeless encampments, as well as for sites that have the potential to become encampments, as homeless advocates say they were not consulted on the plan.

In a Request for Proposals posted by the City of Minneapolis this past Friday, the Regulatory Services Department says it is seeking a security company to start working at sites across the city starting March 25.

According to the proposal, the duties of the security person include monitoring encampment activities, maintaining communication with city staff, providing real-time updates to police, and deterring non-encampment residents from entering.

The move comes after the Nenookaasi camp in the Phillips and East Phillips neighborhoods was evicted multiple times this winter, only to have it move elsewhere. City officials say drug use, overdoses, assaults, and even a deadly shooting make the camp a health and safety risk.

Christin Crabtree, an organizer with Camp Nenookaasi told FOX 9 Tuesday that while they care about safety at the camps they question the city’s motive.

"I’m curious why outreach, residents, and organizers have not been engaged in dialogue regarding what we need and what would keep us safer," said Crabtree. "Unhoused residents, service providers, and organizers need a seat at the table to make an effective plan if their interests are truly in the name of safety."

All proposals need to be submitted by March 8, with the city saying they would like to have security officers in place by March 25.

The city set the funding level for the security project at $175,000, which means it doesn’t require city council approval.

In a statement, a city spokesperson said, "We are working to simultaneously address encampments now in place, limit the formation of new ones and help fill gaps within the continuum of care. This security contract will help us secure City lots where encampments could form and help keep everyone safe within and surrounding encampments. It will also help the City align with the County’s approach to encampment closures, which does not have a heavy reliance on law enforcement."