Below is a reflection from Grant Snyder, the Minneapolis Police Department's liaison to the city's homeless and vulnerable adult population. Sergeant Snyder has been a valued presence at the encampment (read more about that here) and is central to the effort to move camp residents to the new Navigation Center. I think Sergeant Snyder's eloquent post reflects the mutual respect and gratitude we all feel for each other, and I thank him for letting me share it here. Like Grant, I hope we can create a city that embraces the lessons learned from this encampment, and that these lessons help us pave the way towards "better days ahead."
From Sergeant Grant Snyder:
I’ve been a bit quiet about the work being done to transition the Hiawatha encampment residents to the new navigation center, but things are progressing nicely. There are too many people who have and are making this transition possible to name here, but I love them all. They come in early, stay up late, answer every call or concern with deep compassion and understanding. And they desperately want to end the suffering of those affected by homelessness and historical trauma.
They are the outreach workers, visionary leaders from both government and the Native community, solid waste workers, MNDOT, Police, Fire, community health care, the faith community and just generous and concerned people in general. And the residents themselves, who’ve raised our eyes to the struggles of those suffering without adequate housing.
This is a massive undertaking and accomplishment, and like Jenny from MIWRC said to me in the moments before she hugged me in the pic below, “This has never been done anywhere; no one, anywhere has ever worked together to this extent to target homelessness.” Perhaps better days lie ahead if we learn the lessons this experience has to offer.
Above, Grant Snyder and outreach worker Jenny Borgo start the first moving day with a hug at the Franklin Hiawtha encampment. Residents of the camp began moving into the new Minneapolis Navigation Center last Tuesday, December 11, 2018. Below are some of the signs of progress that emerged over the past week. (MIWRC is the MN Indian Women's Resource Center.)
Empty space where a tent once stood. Every space like this symbolizes a camp resident who has been moved to housing, shelter, or the new Navigation Center.
Public Works on the scene during moving week at the Franklin Hiawatha encampment.
More signs of progress!
Brette Hjelle of Public Works and Bryan Dodds of MnDOT often visit the camp, problem solving issues of all kinds. A huge shout out to them both and to the Public Works crews that do daily trash pick up at the camp. Their patience and dedication in an unusual and sometimes trying situation has been nothing short of amazing.
More progress, and so inspiring to see!
What an incredible difference! This area was completed covered with tents and the bridge in the background was not even visible when standing at this vantage point. Thanks to everyone who helped camp residents move over the past month - and especially since the Navigation Center opened last week. It's been a rush to get people in and out of the cold; major #RESPECT to all who have played a role in this effort.
Post by Camille with special thanks to Sergeant Grant Snyder, seen below.