Homeless advocates to camp overnight Downtown

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January 27, 2003 // UPDATED 4:23 pm - April 27, 2007
By: Ellen Nigon
Ellen Nigon

Beginning 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, homeless advocates will camp out overnight on the south lawn of the Hennepin County Government Center, 300 S. 6th St. The next morning, they will present the mayor and city council with a resolution to revoke the city ordinance that makes it illegal for homeless people to sleep outside or in a car.

Campout organizer Margaret Hastings said the campout is a call for city government "to declare homelessness a crisis requiring immediate action to resolve."

Hastings said she hopes the campout will "shame the heck out of the government officials who keep ignoring the issue [of homelessness]."

Councilmember Dean Zimmermann (6th Ward) has said that he will help the homeless advocates in their call for the revocation of the city ordinance.

"I think it is totally unjust and unfair and cruel that we continue to harass homeless people for nothing more than trying to find a place to survive," Zimmermann said

Zimmermann said he thinks the campout will have an effect on city officials. "I think it is incumbent on us as elected officials to not try to hide [homelessness] but get it out where it can be seen and do something about it. If they're going to have a campout there in front of God and everybody I think that's a great thing to get the message out."

Hastings said "anybody who has a conscience" is welcome to join the campout.