Social Issues

Minneapolis Park Board won't permit homeless encampments

An encampment along 14th Avenue South in Minneapolis.
An encampment along 14th Avenue South in Minneapolis in June 2020. It was one of two encampments in Powderhorn Park that together have an estimated 180 tents. This week, the Minneapolis Park Board voted to discontinue permitting encampments in city parks.
Matt Sepic | MPR News 2020

The Minneapolis Park Board says it'll no longer allow homeless encampments in city parks.

Commissioners voted 5 to 3 this week to work with other government and social service agencies to help people who are unsheltered. But the board will no longer issue encampment permits.

Board President Jono Cowgill said Wednesday that the plan now is to work more closely with state and local governments to help people who are living on public land.

“It really focuses our work and coordinating with the city, the county, regional partners to be focusing on the real goal, which is getting people into shelter,” Cowgill said.

Park Board member Londel French favors interagency collaborations, but he said he voted against the resolution because commissioners need to hear more from the community.

He says simply moving people to shelters is not enough.

"I don't think we're doing fast enough work to get housing for folks,” French said. “We're excited about getting shelter. What's going to happen four five years from now? We need housing for folks who can't afford it right now."

Last June, the Park Board allowed unrestricted encampments, but later tried to scale them back through a permitting system.

The last permitted encampment was removed from Minnehaha Regional Park in early January.

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