Homeless battle cold in Minneapolis encampment

“I survived like this a long time, just with fire man!”

Edgar Linares
November 09, 2018 - 8:16 pm

By Edgar Linares

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The bitter cold has people concerned about the homeless encampment in South Minneapolis near Franklin and Hiawatha Avenues.

For Daniel Robertson the cold doesn't bother him, he has lived along the sound wall for a long time.

“I prepare myself for situations like this, and I’m ready for it,” said Robertson.

In August, only a few dozen tents lined the wall, now nearly 200 sit side-by-side. Many of the tents are covered with tarps and layers of blankets to try to stop the cold from entering. Some larger tents have warming stoves packed with a dozen people, while others like Allen Eagle tough it out next to a camp fire outside most of the day.

“I survived like this a long time, just with fire man!” said Eagle. He then described the layers of clothing he’s wearing to stay warm. “I got three sweaters on, two jackets, and two pants, and a snow suit.”

The bitter cold is weighing heavy on the hearts of volunteers that show up at the homeless encampment. Some area church members have shown up to check on people huddled in tents. One of the tents has a family with a three-year-old child.

Celeste Hofstede is a social work student at North Central University a few blocks away, she has been helping bring blankets and clothing to the camp.

“This is like we’re living in a completely different country and its’ right here,” said Hofstede. “I’m surprised there’s not more people protesting this and why this is still allowed. There’s snow on the ground. People should’ve been out of here a long time ago.”

A navigation center is under construction at 2109 Cedar Avenue South that will help many of the people living at the encampment. Last month, Minneapolis City Council approved funding for the navigation center, but it’s not expected to open until December. For now, many plan to tough it out in the cold.

“I’ve survived by myself… It’s in my blood,” said Eagle.