Hennepin County shelters took in about 2,200 homeless families, single adults and young people during this week's sub-zero cold.
Hundreds of others slept in lobbies and other emergency centers and the county opened a warming center for homeless young people.
Monday and Tuesday were especially difficult for families with school-aged children, said Mikkel Beckmen, director of the Minneapolis/Hennepin County Office to End Homelessness.
"For children who don't have a home that became a really challenging thing to find a place to be that was warm because they couldn't go to school and stay warm, didn't have a home to stay in," Beckmen said. "We do have enough shelter capacity for most of the populations except for homeless youth and we also worry about families in suburban Hennepin County living in automobiles."
How many families are living in their cars outside city limits is undetermined. Earlier this year, Hennepin County officials learned of a group of 12 families living in a dozen cars near Interstate 394.
Beckmen said families also congregate in shopping mall or retail store parking lots. He said one young man survived the night in Powderhorn Park. He eventually found a warm place to sleep.
"No bad news this week," Beckmen said.