New St. Paul City Council member rides light rail all night to speak with homeless

Light rail has become a haven for the homeless late at night.
As a light rail train pulls into the Target Field station at 2:00 a.m., the cars carry the homeless trying to get some sleep. Affordable housing is scarce and shelters are often full, so the light rail has become a haven for the homeless late at night in the Twin Cities. Many wait at light rail stations and board trains as a place to sleep rather than remain outdoors.
Judy Griesedieck for MPR News 2018

More than 200 homeless Minnesotans seek shelter each night on the Twin Cities light rail lines, riding trains to stay warm and safe through the night.

It's a problem that concerns new St. Paul City Council Member Mitra Jalali Nelson and Hennepin County Commissioner-elect Angela Conley.

Both ran on increasing affordable housing in the Twin Cities. On Friday, they rode the trains to talk to some of those homeless people to better understand the problem.

Nelson spoke to MPR News host Cathy Wurzer on Monday about what they found and what can be done to address homelessness.

Click the audio player to hear the discussion.