In a recent WCCO TV report unnamed city and county officials were quoted as saying:
"City officials are urging people at the homeless camp to use county shelters for a warm, safe, place to sleep. They can also get a variety of medical resources there...They say bringing food or supplies to the site can create a safety risk."
These statements are 1. wrong and 2. perplexing.
1. Shelters fill up every day - often by very early in the day. Not everyone can access shelter even if they want to - and many do. County officials know this.
2. I cannot imagine how feeding the homeless creates a "safety risk." Through ongoing coordination efforts and hundreds of volunteers from churches, community groups, books clubs and more we have been feeding the residents at the encampment for over three months. There have been no food-related incidents and care is taken to clean the camp regularly and not allow food waste to attract pests.
Until the Navigation Center is open for business - and perhaps beyond, if some remain unsheltered - we will continue to provided food for the homeless residents at the Wall. To suggest otherwise shows a lack of compassion for those who need and deserve our care.