Homeless evacuation negatively impacts local communities

City of St. Paul packs up tent city

Samantha Klepfer

The evacuation of the homeless encampment in St. Paul removed people from their homes, or tents, at a difficult time of year. No one wants to move so close to the holidays. According to Kare 11, many of the homeless residents have been living there for almost six months. The encampment, located on Cathedral Hill, was to be cleared out by 10 a.m. Nov. 15.

When they were forced to evacuate the area, they were also forced to leave the community they built, the friends and connections they made and the lives they knew. This means, wherever they end up, they will have to start over in an unfamiliar area with unfamiliar people. Homeless people need stability to increase their fiscal opportunities, according to Urban Institute.

According to Kare 11, the city believed the residents of the encampment would be in danger as the cold set in. However, most of the evicted relocated to an encampment in Hiawatha, where they will be just as susceptible to cold as they had been before.

The city claims the evacuation helps, but there are other, less problematic ways of aiding the homeless — like devoting resources to better shelters. According to Kare 11, the city tried to redirect the displaced to the Winter Safe Space, but it is exclusive and not enough for those in need. Rather than improving the homes of those at the encampment, the city pointlessly forced them to collect all of their belongings and move to another, an identical piece of frozen grass.