More Shelter Beds Needed to Serve Homeless
This week the Zoning and Planning Committee unanimously approved the application for an interim use permit for an overnight shelter located at 810 7th St. S. The shelter will be operated by First Covenant Church in cooperation with the Salvation Army and will provide 50 addition mats for single adults each night until April of 2011.
While I wholeheartedly supported this action, I did so with regret. Clearly this is a situation we wanted to avoid.
At the committee we learned that on a recent Monday night, the 364 sleeping spaces at one of our largest facilities were all full, but an additional 103 adults showed up looking for a place to spend the night. Even though there were no mats avaiable on the floor, they were not turned away, but had to squeeze into hallways, corners and corridors.
If the full Council approves this next Firday, it will be the first new overnight shelter the Council has approved since the late 1990s and shows the serious level of economic suffering that the poor state of the economy has brought to Minneapolis.
Despite the creation of an Office to End Homelessness, our comprehensive plan to end homelessness and our best efforts over the years to address the problem of homelessness by focusing on helping people find permanent housing, there is a crisis this winter.
Despite the fact that we have doubled our prevention efforts and are also partnering with the county to administer $6.5 million in federal stimulus dollars we received for homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing, our shelters are overflowing.
According to the numbers we are seeing now this shelter will not be enough and the need is especially critical for the growing number of youth who are homeless.
Another application will likely (and hopefully) be submitted in the next few weeks.