Edina Zephyrus

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    IanFeb 24, 2024 at 12:56 pm

    It’s a tragedy all around, for the people living in the camp and for the people living next to and around it, everyone dealing with the safety problems around them.. the violence, crime, health concerns, etc.

    I think council member Vetaw has the right perspective, informed by her personal experience growing up with a mother addicted to crack as she discussed at a recent city council committee meeting.

    Minneapolis has done a commendable job getting so many people out of tents and into temporary (a step to permanent) and permanent housing with projects like Avivo. Almost all of the remaining people in that camp are not interested or able to get off the street because of addiction.

    Classifying this as primarily a housing problem is inaccurate, if not deceptive, and not helpful to people in the camp or the people who live near them and directly deal with issues caused by them. Being unhoused is symptom of addiction, not the other way around. I’ve never heard of a disease cured only by addressing a symptom. These people will struggle with being unhoused as long as they struggle with addiction.

    The fact that the remaining tent camps are only in neighborhoods like Whittier, and not Calhoun Isles, Nokomis, etc. should not be overlooked. There are already so many minority and immigrant families, recovering addicts, underemployed people, etc already struggling in this neighborhood. Whittier has so many challenges and centering a camp that brings extra crime and safety issues to an already overburdened community is just wrong.

    Neighborhoods need home owners, small businesses, quality rental units. Neighborhoods need to be a place where people WANT to live, free from crime and health issues (constant wood fires and IV needles), and tent camps of fentanyl addiction will kill a neighborhood like Whittier.

    Minneapolis needs to have some low-barrier shelters, that will take them and their dogs, and their significant others, that do not require people to be “clean”. Anything would be better than pop up encampments in our most challenged residential neighborhoods.

    We do need to help these people in the camp, but we can’t ignore or dismiss the problems they bring to the neighborhood and the people that live in and near them.

    -Former Edina resident and student, and current resident of Powderhorn Park in Mpls (20+ years)