Minneapolis begins transitioning homeless residents into Navigation Center

Several people at the Minneapolis homeless encampment have started to pack up and move to a temporary shelter set up by the city. The goal is to get everyone inside heated tents until permanent housing is found. 

As the city is eases people into the Navigation Center, big heated structures temporarily house about 140 people currently living at the tent camp just down the street.

Work crews are still on site, but the city hopes to gradually bring the community to the facility.

The Navigation Center also has food, a warm area to eat at tables, and other various services available. Many hope the housing setup will put an end to what had become an increasingly dangerous situation at the current Hiawatha tent camp. 

There have been a number of fires at the camp, and drug use was reportedly rampant with several overdose deaths. Tuesday, Minneapolis police were on site in a “support” role to help with the transition.

But for the most part, the camp looks the same as it has for months now. 

That’s because only 10 people moved so far, chosen from a list developed by outreach workers. The group is expected to be in by the end of the day Tuesday.

It’s unclear why the move includes just a handful of people; the city only said it’s a fluid schedule and a new concept for the city and that they’re working to move people in as soon as everything is set up and ready.

The plan is to eventually move residents from the center to permanent housing. While there are no drugs or alcohol allowed there, many residents either have used or are still using drugs. There will be help for those people, but there will also be a focus on harm reduction.