Logan Park Encampment Updates from LPNA August 14th, 2020

We have received  many questions and statements of support as well as concerns about the encampment. There is a  shared  concern  that encampments in public parks are not a solution and that our elected officials need to deliver on better long term housing for our community members living in the encampment. We share these sentiments.

Per the MPRB, on 8/13/2020:

“We have set the date of Aug 17 as the deadline for an application at Logan Park. At this point, we have communicated a deadline of Aug 17 for applications directly to individuals at the encampment. If an application is not received, the encampment will be identified as an unpermitted encampment and be subject to removal per Resolution 2020-267. 

We have approximately 40 parks with encampments at the moment that vary in size. We are prioritizing removal of encampments based health and safety issues and whether it is capable of a permit. Removal of larger encampments can take about 3 days if they go well. We have been working this week to address three sites. ” 

We want to share what we know about the camp and want you to be aware that the LPNA board is not sponsoring the camp. We will not be applying for a permit, and we are not directly coordinating volunteers. 

We aren’t experts, but here is the best information we could gather based on a variety of sources:

  • COVID-19 has reduced the space available in homeless shelters. Board members have spoken to folks at the encampment who are hesitant to go to shelters due to safety issues.  Additionally Minneapolis, like all major cities in the US, has a drastic shortage of affordable housing units. These factors (and more) have led to a larger and more visible homeless population in our community than in the recent past.
  • The economic recession will likely not improve in the short term, and has made existing homelessness worse this year. Many people facing financial hardship now are projected to lose their housing when the state moratorium on evictions expires. Homelessness is a long term problem. (news articles on future predictions: NBC, New York Times, Fox).
  • Governor’s Emergency Executive Order 20-55, signed May 13, 2020:
    • Continuation of the Governor’s peacetime emergency order, originally declared on March 13, 2020, in response to COVID-19.
    • Highlights how the state’s homeless population is particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 health pandemic.
    • Calls for specific action from local governments to help unsheltered people stay safe during the health pandemic.
    • States that homeless encampments shall not be subject to law enforcement sweeps or disbandment unless there is a documented threat to the health, safety or security of residents. This is due to the potential to increase the spread of COVID-19. As of today (8/10/20), neither the city of Minneapolis nor the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) have found the Logan Park encampment to be this kind of threat to the community.
  • Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB)
    • Since June 12, MPRB has been responding to the growing number of people experiencing homelessness that are living in parks temporarily until dignified alternative spaces can be found.
    • MPRB is not a housing authority. They do not have the staff, expertise, or resources to house unsheltered people. They are providing what support they can to people who are camping in city parks while following the Governor’s executive order.
    • MPRB is working with state, county and city health and human service agencies to find short and long-term solutions.
  • Temporary Encampment Permits
    • Since July 15, MPRB staff have been working to get encampments temporarily permitted and to designate parks capable of accommodating encampments. Over time, the number of encampments in the park system will be reduced to no more than 20 park Refuge Sites, with a limit of 25 tents per site, including tents for storage or support.
    • From the MPRB website: “Getting sites permitted is a fluid situation while outreach continues, encampment permit applications are communicated and processed, and park spaces are delineated.” Park board staff evaluate all permit applications.
    • We are unsure if any permit application for Logan Park is in process. LPNA will share more information with the neighborhood as it becomes available on this topic. 
    • As of today (8/12/20), encampment permits have been issued for four parks
      • Lake Harriet
      • Marshall Terrace Park
      • The Mall
      • William Berry Park
    • Park staff have designated Logan Park, along with 11 other parks, as capable of accommodating an encampment. Logan Park is tagged “full”.
    • We do not know if any other encampments have been denied permits.
  • Logan Park Encampment
    • 25 tents (including supply tents), in the southwest corner of the park
    • Port-a-potties, handwashing stations and additional trash bins supplied by Park Board
    • Junail is the lead volunteer and onsight each day and holds a 7 pm community meeting every evening. Logan Park residents are welcome to attend. LPNA board members have visited with Junail and other encampment residents and will continue to interact and monitor events during this time.
    • Volunteers are providing security. More volunteers are needed and welcome, especially at night.
    • Unsheltered people have slept in or near Logan Park well before the encampment formed in the park, and some unsheltered people are staying in or near the park that  are not part of the encampment.
    • The size and visibility of the encampment draws additional traffic and visitors. Neighbors have shared concerns about this and some incidents that have taken place.
  • Logan Park Neighborhood Association
  • More information:

Logan Park Sanctuary Aid Facebook Group: hot meal sign up and daily needs posted in stories