New temporary site for Minneapolis homeless encampment approved by City Council

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The Minneapolis City Council approved a new temporary site for its homeless encampment at a meeting Wednesday.

The encampment and its emergency navigation center will now be moved to 2109 Cedar Avenue, a site currently owned by the Red Lake Nation.

In a release, the city of Minneapolis said the goal is to open the navigation center this fall. Hennepin County, nonprofit partners and the community said it will take the lead on developing and implementing the services at the navigation center with support from the city. 

Minneapolis also said a longer-term solution is in the works. A new transitional housing program geared toward Native Americans experiencing chronic homelessness is part of the solution. The council will hear more about this Oct. 24. 

The City Council approved the move unanimously Wednesday following a Minneapolis Housing and Development Committee discussion prior. Earlier this week, the council voted to delay the decision due to pushback in the community.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey met with leaders from 11 Minnesota tribal nations and Gov. Mark Dayton after last week's meeting, which is how the new site became an option. All 11 tribes supported the 2109 Central Avenue site, according to Frey's office. 

Frey released a statement about his council's approval Wednesday: 

Thank you to tribal leadership for stepping up, and particularly the Red Lake Nation, for offering an important option for the temporary navigation center. Today’s Council vote is a positive step forward and reaffirms that the site at 2109 Cedar Avenue South is culturally appropriate and equipped to provide for the safety and health of people currently living at the encampment along Hiawatha Avenue.

As city staff turns its attention to preparing the site as quickly as possible, I will continue working with my colleagues in City Hall, neighboring jurisdictions, and the native community to continue the extensive outreach essential for a smooth transition to 2109. Our work will continue to be done in partnership with the native community and will be guided by several overriding goals: protecting everyone's health and safety, providing supportive social services, and ultimately finding more permanent housing options for our communities experiencing homelessness.