Minneapolis clears Near North homeless encampment

Early this morning, City of Minneapolis crews began clearing a North Side homeless encampment near the city’s impound lot. 

A city spokesperson said the site has "long posed public safety and public health challenges and been used as a storage area for stolen goods." 

While city crews cleared the encampment with a bulldozer, Minneapolis Police established a four-block perimeter around the area. A FOX 9 drone captured video of tents and other belongings being bulldozed and cleared away.    

Police arrested two encampment residents for obstruction of justice.   

An activist for the encampment, Reed Eliot, posted a statement on Twitter that said, "Residents were given only five minutes to pack what they could carry and vacate their homes."

A police source said there were eleven people currently living at the encampment.   

Last week the city also cleared an encampment located near the Greenway at 28th & Bloomington Avenue South. 

"No trespassing" signs were posted before both raids, and a spokesperson said "ample time" was given for people to clear their personal items.   

Related stories: Group says Minneapolis could sweep two other large encampments

Street Outreach workers have been trying for two years to connect those living in the encampments with temporary housing and other services.   

"But the majority of people living at the encampment have declined those resources as well as an opportunity to store their personal belongings through the Downtown Improvement District," according to a city spokesperson.   

Eliot, who wrote that he was present at the raid, disputed that assessment on social media.   

"Near North Encampment created stability and access to necessary social services for the residents. It is much easier to connect community members with long-term assistance, identify documents, and medical care if they are able to stay in the same place and keep each other safe," said Eliot. 

The North Side encampment at 205 Girard Avenue North is the site of a future affordable housing development scheduled for a groundbreaking next week. It will include 187 rental units that will all be affordable.