Community concerned after third death at Minneapolis homeless encampment

A third person has now died at a growing south Minneapolis homeless camp near Little Earth.

Now, there are major concerns about the health and safety of this area that hundreds of people now call home.

Daniel Robertson is one of several people who knew Pamela Sue Rivera. Friends say the 51-year-old grandmother died of a suspected overdose this weekend at a Minneapolis homeless camp that's been getting larger by the day near 16th Street and Franklin Avenue.

“She was a very good friend. I miss her,” Robertson said.

James Allen Cross is the self-appointed mayor of the encampment; he also founded the organization Natives Against Heroin.

“We’re trying to keep it as clean as we want, as we need,” Cross said.

Cross knows many of the people living out here and works with police and the city to keep drug dealers out and to keep people clean.

“We’re all trained in Narcan—we do the harm reduction piece out here, and we just make sure we are aware of who’s coming out and who’s coming in,” he said.

Cross said he's been focusing more on re-locating families with young children into shelters. He said a lot of work needs to be done to get people off the street before winter hits.

Kate Klemenhagen drove all the way from Alexandria with her 14-year-old daughter to drop off supplies for people in need. She said it breaks her heart to see how many more people show up each week.

“We just keep collecting and they just keep bringing stuff. Today we had coats, blankets, towels, toiletries, endless supply of socks - I have a heart for the forgotten,” she said.

The city is working on moving people in that camp across the street to a new shelter called the Navigation Center. They hope to have people living in there by November or December.