Navigation Center expands capacity, Franklin/Hiawatha encampment site to close

The temporary Navigation Center has welcomed 135 people, expanding its capacity by 15 beds to accommodate people previously living at the nearby Franklin/Hiawatha homeless encampment.

The Red Lake Nation and Simpson Housing Services have partnered to oversee the center in south Minneapolis with support from a coalition of government and community partners, including the City of Minneapolis, which provided funding for the three large sprung structures at the site owned by the Red Lake Nation. It is a safe, warm and service-rich environment.

Coalition partners have done extensive outreach to help people living in the encampment transition to the Navigation Center or identify alternative options. With the transition of those staying in the encampment now voluntarily shifted to the Navigation Center, the encampment site will close today. Services, including hot meals, portable toilets and hand-washing stations, among other things, will only be offered at the Navigation Center. The winding down of services and debris removal has been ongoing for the past week.

The Red Lake Nation has a service coordinator at the Navigation Center coordinating services among a network of government and nonprofit agencies working to assist residents with a wide range of services, including traditional Native healing, housing and case management and substance use treatment.

To date, partners involved in outreach at the encampment have assisted more than 100 people with securing access to permanent supportive housing. Twenty-eight families have also moved to a family shelter.

This coalition, along with state and regional governments and community agencies, are actively working on policy and program recommendations for long-term solutions to homelessness, including housing geared toward Native Americans experiencing chronic homelessness.

Published Dec 21, 2018

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