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Mpls. charter school: Don’t relocate homeless camp next to us

September 18, 2018

As Minneapolis seeks to clear the large homeless encampment along Hiawatha and Cedar avenues, a charter school is opposing the relocation of Hiawatha encampment residents to a vacant lot next door.

Mayor Jacob Frey has said the city is in the final stages of finding a location to temporarily house dozens of people now living in tents. The vacant lot and a city-owned former warehouse are the two sites under consideration. But the director of Aurora Charter School wrote the mayor to say the school vehemently opposes the vacant lot at 2600 Minnehaha Avenue as an option for the relocation.

In the letter, dated Monday, Matt Cisewski wrote that the relocation of the Hiawatha homelessness camp will affect the safety and health of more than 400 students. As the camps population ballooned over the summer, Cisewski wrote, they have found a dozen syringes on the school ground.

If the Hiawatha homelessness camp is relocated to 2600 Minnehaha Avenue, he wrote in the letter, my concern is that 411 scholars would have increased stress levels by being exposed to drug use and other behaviors unbecoming of Minneapolis citizens on a daily basis while simply trying to enjoy recess, go for a walk with their class, or arriving at school, a place where they should feel safe.

Minneapolis City Council Member Alondra Cano, who represents the area where the homeless encampment is located, said she agrees with the charter school.

I oppose any effort to relocate the camp next to Aurora Charter School as per the wishes of the Latino families, students, and all of the schools teachers and staff, Cano said in an email Tuesday.

Cano and Cisewski said they prefer if the city relocates the residents to the former Roof Depot building, a seven-acre property owned by the city on the west side of Hiawatha Avenue.

I am very supportive of welcoming the 250 families experiencing homelessness who are living at the camp to find a more warm, safe, and sustainable housing option on the former Roof Depot site, Cano said.

Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde, the city coordinator, will brief the City Council on Thursday about the citys plan in providing an emergency transitional services to address the immediate needs of the residents of the Hiawatha encampment that includes low-barrier access to emergency beds, basic healthcare, and other support services.

Mukhtar M. Ibrahim 612-673-4689

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