ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Many people gathered at the Mayo Civic Center for the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless conference. This two-day event brings people from all walks of life to learn from one another on how the entire state and various cities are addressing homelessness.
More than five hundred people sat through different workshops such as youth homelessness, identifying those struggling and building relationships with landlords. Many community organizations are recognizing what is working for different communities and what is not.
In Rochester, Mayor Kim Norton says a lot has changed in the past eight months and reducing homelessness has been a community effort.
“There are no easy solutions to this, but I was just really concerned that really no one was addressing it or talking about it,” Mayor Kim Norton said. “I’m very pleased that we are addressing this issue as a community that we are compassionate and we are embracing concepts and ideas and changing ordinances, finding shelter, doing anything we can do as a community to help individuals that really do need a safe and warm bed every night.”
Tony Jewson who has experienced being homeless on and off and now has a home said more can be done for those without shelter. “I think Rochester can really put a foot forward and make a good statement in this whole misplaced (homeless) people in the world and show that there is a chance.”
Jewson said hope is something many people lose when they are homeless and creating programs can help bring back joy in their lives.
Mayor Norton said she is excited for a short term solution, but is still looking for a long-term solution.
A warming shelter is the short term solution, it will hold 30-35 people at night and has amenities such as a laundry room included. The dorm beds were donated by a University in the Twin Cities. Mayor Norton hopes for the shelter to be open no later than December 1st.