County will keep Downtown shelter beds available

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March 29, 2004 // UPDATED 10:27 am - April 25, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners will keep 150 shelter beds open for the homeless that were set to close April 15.

The Board approved $225,000 for 130 beds for men at the Salvation Army Harbor Light's Safe Bay shelter, 1010 Currie Ave., and 20 beds for women at Simpson Housing Services' overflow shelter just south of Downtown.

The shelter beds were set to close until Oct. 16, when county funding for the winter months kicks in.

Commissioner Gail Dorfman, whose district includes Southwest Minneapolis and St. Louis Park, authored the resolution the Board passed unanimously March 23.

"People experiencing homelessness are vulnerable regardless of weather conditions. We stand a greater chance of ending homelessness for these men and women if we continue to offer safe refuge and provide access to support services," Dorfman said in a prepared statement.

She said the county tapped unspent shelter dollars to pay for the beds from April to October. More homeless families have been referred to transitional housing, freeing up additional money for the shelters, she said.

Typically, other government funding and private money is used to pay for the 150 beds through the spring and summer months.

The county resolution also directs staff to coordinate with the joint city-county Community Advisory Board on Homelessness to update a 1994 county shelter plan.

Dorfman said the plan has become outdated and refers to welfare policies no longer in use.