Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

City Council Selects Cedar Avenue Site for Homeless Encampment


September 27, 2018

The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to select a site at 2109 Cedar Avenue as the new location for a growing homeless encampment now set up just off Hiawatha Avenue near Franklin and 16th Avenues.

The location, though, is only temporary. The Red Lake Nation plans to begin construction on an affordable housing project on the site in May of next year - meaning the city must still come up with a long-term solution.

The next step in the process comes Thursday when city staff will meet with the state, Hennepin County, local non-profits and tribal leaders. They will discuss specific costs of the demolition, placing orders for materials and speaking with contractors to build the navigation center that will go on site.

They will also discuss the types of services that will be offered to those in need.

The Red Lake Nation said it is negotiating with the remaining tenant to move out. The Red Lake Nation's Sam Strong believes the tenant can move out within a week. The city will contribute to the cost of leveling the buildings on the site.

The expected budget for the project is estimated at $2 million to $2.5 million.

The encampment has been a concern for city and community leaders for months.

The suggestion to utilize an acre-and-a-half of Red Lake Nation-owned land, located on Cedar Avenue, emerged after city leaders couldn't make a decision last week on two other locations: the Roof Depot site on 28th Street and the empty lot at 26th Street and Minnehaha Avenue.

Mayor Jacob Frey released a statement following the vote, thanking tribal leadership for offering the new site.

"Thank you to tribal leadership for stepping up, and particularly the Red Lake Nation, for offering an important option for the temporary navigation center," the statement read. "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."


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