After a fire at the Franklin Hiawatha encampment, Minneapolis Fire Department Chief John Fruetel became increasingly concerned about the health and safety of the people at the camp. He set about procuring a warming tent where camp residents could hang out, warm up, and enjoy a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.
The tent went up last week, and the timing couldn't be better, as temperatures are soon going to dip into the single digits. An integrated vestibule made it possible to connect the new tent to the existing tent, which has been across the street from the encampment since early September thanks to the efforts of Mike Goze and the American Indian Community Development Corporation. The existing tent has been used by housing specialists from Hennepin County, Simpson Housing and many other agencies as a convenient place to meet with campers and advise them about housing options. It was also connected to mobile showers for the encampment, until the cold weather froze the water lines.
Now both tents are buzzing. The extra space has made it possible for us to serve meals at tables in a warm setting. There is also a donation wall where camp residents can pick up supplies, a buffet area where meals are served daily, and a beverage bar serving coffee, tea and hot chocolate. Campers welcome the opportunity to come in and get out of the cold.
Many thanks to Chief Fruetel for making this tent available to the encampment, and to the firemen and woman who came out to put up the tent! They made it look easy! Enjoy some photos of the day below.
Post and photos by Camille