Homelessness is here in Minnesota. In fact, it is here in Rochester. It is a very real issue for people in our community and one nonprofit in the Twin Cities has found a solution to help; Tiny Houses.
Settled. recently showed up on several Twin Cities news sites for their initiative of providing communities of tiny homes for those who are experiencing homelessness. They provide shelter for individuals but according to their website, they also help meet relational and social needs in a holistic way. Personally, I think it is an amazing solution for our state and am happy to see it slowly start to roll out up in the Twin Cities area. I'd really love to see some sort of initiative happen in Rochester though because we aren't exempt.
What are the numbers of those experiencing homelessness in our state and area?
- According to porch.com, Minnesota ranks 13th when looking at the states with the most people experiencing homelessness. Our total homeless population is 7,977, and 3,391 of those are families with children.
- In Rochester/Southeast Minnesota, a one-night study in January of 2020 showed a number of 452 individuals who where experiencing homelessness, including those who were in emergency shelters, in transitional housing, and those who were unsheltered. You can see the full study at threeriverscap.org.
You may not like what I have to say next because I'm going to give you my very honest opinion. I think Rochester has some growing up to do and needs some empathy training as we work on this issue together. We have some very inconsiderate people in our town who not provide a community that is supportive of those who are struggling. We have minimal "real" affordable housing. I have also witnessed people in downtown Rochester screaming at those experiencing homelessness. I know people who have no home who have been spit on or treated as if they were less than human. Personally, I feel as if Rochester has less compassion than other locations for those who are experiencing homelessness.
But I will give our town some credit because we have made great strides in bringing awareness and have places like the Rochester Community Warming Center and The Landing who are providing shelter and resources to those in need and individuals have stepped up to help with donations and volunteering.
Progress has been made and to those who have fought hard and spoken up, I applaud you. Years ago, I brought up issues of homelessness to city leaders when I knew of teenagers sleeping in our culverts and families living in tents behind Walmart. The silence was deafening. Today, we have people who are willing to help and conversations happening. I appreciate those who have helped make progress happen. The human beings in our town who don't have a traditional roof over their head still deserve to be shown love.
I know Rochester has some cash and we've got a whole bunch of churches and nonprofits that could help...so what do you say, Rochester, should we get some tiny houses built?