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Welcome to the Camp Blog:

Combating rumors while progress is made

I've been asked by a few folks on social media to respond to allegations made about the encampment by Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB). I am happy to do so. Please see CUAPB allegations, made via Facebook, in bold regular font, and my responses in CAPS, below.

CUAPB has been doing copwatch at the Hiawatha homeless encampment. Things are starting to get tense there as most of the people who wanted to leave have left and the people still there do not want to leave.

THIS IS NOT TRUE. WE HAVE AT LEAST 10 MORE PEOPLE HOPING TO MOVE TODAY - AND MORE JOIN THEIR RANKS EVER DAY. WE HAVE ALREADY MOVED 80 CAMPERS WITHOUT INCIDENT OR POLICE INVOLVEMENT OF ANY KIND. PEOPLE WANT TO SEEK SHELTER FROM THE COLD.

The city will likely start forced evictions today.

THIS IS NOT TRUE AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THEY GOT THIS INFORMATION. IT IS SIMPLY WRONG. THERE IS NO PLAN FOR FORCED EVICTIONS AT THIS TIME. WE HOPE TO MOVE CAMP RESIDENTS WITH THEIR INFORMED CONSENT AS TO WHAT OPTIONS ARE OPEN AND BEST FOR THEM, INCLUDING RESIDENTIAL CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY TREATMENT.

As it is, the city has been destroying and tossing people's possessions, including tents that people were still occupying.

THIS IS ALSO COMPLETELY UNTRUE. TEAMS OF OUTREACH WORKERS AND THE MPD HOMELESS OUTREACH OFFICER, GRANT SNYDER, HAVE BEEN GOING TENT TO TENT TO SEE WHICH TENTS ARE ABANDONED, OR ARE STORAGE TENTS FOR FOLKS THAT ARE ALREADY GONE. THESE TENTS ARE BEING REMOVED.

ABSOLUTELY NO ONE HAS BEEN EVICTED FROM THEIR TENT. NO BELONGINGS HAVE BEEN THROWN AWAY WITHOUT THE OWNERS PERMISSION.

About 6-8 people have been arrested so far, mostly on outstanding warrants.

OUTSTANDING WARRANTS HAVE NEVER BEEN USED TO FORCE PEOPLE FROM THE CAMP.

PLEASE visit the encampment even for a little while. Walk around and talk to people. Bear witness to what the city is up to. Take pictures and video.

HONESTLY, WHAT THE "CITY IS UP TO" IS FINDING HOUSING FOR THOSE LIVING ON THE STREET IN THE WINTER. THERE IS NO DARK, ULTERIOR MOTIVE AND THERE HAS BEEN NO POLICE ACTION AGAINST THE CAMPERS.

AS I POSTED EARLIER HEAVY EQUIPMENT IS BEING USED TO REMOVE THE TONS OF DISCARDED AND ABANDONED TENTS, BLANKETS, CLOTHES AND MORE. AS OF YESTERDAY OVER 55 TONS OF GARBAGE HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THE CAMP. THE CAMP IS BASICALLY A (DE)CONSTRUCTION ZONE AND WE ASK THAT PEOPLE NOT VISIT THE CAMP AND WANDER AROUND WHILE THIS WORK IS HAPPENING. IF YOU WOULD LIKE A TOUR OF THE CAMP I AM HAPPY TO MAKE A TIME TO ACCOMPANY YOU.

The new Navigation Center is practically a prison camp.

THIS IS SO WRONG - AND UPSETS ME SO MUCH. I CANNOT BELIEVE SOMEONE WOULD COMPARE THE NAVIGATION CENTER TO A PRISON. IT IS HARMFUL TO THE HOMELESS PEOPLE SEEKING REFUGE AND DISRESPECTFUL TO THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN WORKING HARD FOR MONTHS TRYING TO GET PEOPLE INTO A SAFE SPACE AND OUT OF THE COLD. I PLAN TO WRITE A LONGER, SEPARATE BLOG POST ABOUT THIS IRRESPONSIBLE ALLEGATION THAT ONLY HURTS THE HOMELESS AND MOST VULNERABLE AMONG US.

Three large bunkhouse-style tents are surrounded by concrete barricades and high chain-link fencing with only one way in--a gate where staff have to let people in.

YES THE NAVIGATION CENTER IS SURROUNDED BY A FENCE - TO KEEP DRUG DEALERS AND OTHER PREDATORS OUT. DEALERS AND SEX TRAFFICKERS WILL TRY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE RESIDENTS, WHO ARE OFTEN VULNERABLE DUE TO MENTAL HEALTH OR ADDICTION ISSUES. RESIDENTS CAN COME AND GO AT ANY TIME 24 HOURS A DAY.

The people are not permitted visitors.

I AM NOT SURE IF VISITORS WILL BE ALLOWED IN THE FUTURE BUT RIGHT NOW OUTREACH TEAMS ARE TRYING TO MOVE 120 PEOPLE INTO SHELTER IN JUST OVER A WEEK. WE CANNOT HAVE OUTSIDERS MILLING AROUND AT THIS STAGE IN THE GAME. ALSO PLEASE REMEMBER, RESIDENTS CAN COME AND GO AT ANY TIME TO VISIT THEIR FRIENDS AND FAMILY.

There is no storage for people's possessions so anyone who goes there can only bring clothing and a few personal effects.

WOW! THIS ONE IS COMPLETELY UNTRUE. PEOPLE ARE BEING ALLOWED TO BRING AS MUCH AS THEY WANT!! THEY HAVE LOCKED ON-SITE STORAGE - AND ADDITIONAL OFF-SITE STORAGE IS OFFERED TO ANYONE WHO NEEDS IT.

Children under 18 are not allowed at the Navigation Center so the few families with children still in the encampment are scrambling for what to do.

THIS IS INDEED AN ADULTS ONLY SHELTER. HOWEVER NO FAMILY IS SCRAMBLING FOR SHELTER. ANY FAMILY WITH CHILDREN CAN BE SHELTERED IMMEDIATELY THROUGH A SPECIAL PROGRAM THROUGH HENNEPIN COUNTY. ALSO HOUSING WORKERS HAVE AGGRESSIVELY AND SUCCESSFULLY FOUND APARTMENTS FOR FAMILIES. ANY HOMELESS FAMILY SHOULD CONTACT AVIVO OR SIMPSON HOUSING AND SEEK ASSISTANCE. WE CAN HELP YOU!

I'm going to end this blog post by asking all of you in the community to HELP US SUCCEED in moving our homeless relatives to a safe and warm alternative to life on the freezing, winter streets. Conditions in the camp are cold, muddy, squalid and dangerous from both a public health and personal safety standpoint. If you see inaccurate information, please share what I've posted here or connect them to me via a tag or FB messenger. We are working with a vulnerable population who, understandably, lacks trust in the many systems that have often failed them. This time we are trying to do things differently - working literally one on one with homeless camp residents explaining their options and encouraging them to seek a safe place to live. Please, please help us. We can really use your support.

Post by Camille. Photos below of the encampment on Dec 18, 2018.

As you can see here, abandoned tents are removed and the occupied tents are left standing. NO ONE has been forcibly removed from the camp

Another solo tent left standing because it is occupied. The number on the tent is from a census that was taken a few weeks ago.

Conditions at the encampment are squalid and dangerous.

Piles of garbage around still occupied tents create public health issues and are a magnet for rodents and other critters you don't want around you - especially in the night.

Please help us combat the rumors on Facebook and other social media. Share the information here. Help us to succeed moving our homeless and vulnerable to safe shelter!

Posted by Camille.

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