I just read the September article "Homeless encampment on church property ends in Seward," and found it to be shameful and embarrassing in its implicit contempt for our most vulnerable unhoused neighbors. I work blocks from the site and visited to bring water and basic life needs not provided by the city or the landowners of the empty lot, whom your paper chose to make the focus of the article. In contrast, those who used the land for their survival received not a single quotation nor any compassion in your property-over-people narrative.
The article also failed to challenge the city of Minneapolis' statement that there is shelter space available – ignoring that shelters are simply not an option for many unhoused neighbors who need to keep belongings, remain with family, have pets or children, or simply are not safe in congregate shelters. The CDC has said repeatedly that encampments are safer than congregate shelters during COVID, yet the city continues to sweep encampments as if it is not a gross human rights violation.
Further, Mayor Jacob Frey has refused to use available FEMA funding to provide hotel rooms for unhoused residents. He would be a much more appropriate target of property owners' ire, as opposed to demonizing the unhoused for activities like drug use and sex which housed people also engage in every day.
Our Indigenous neighbors in particular have every right to exist on the stolen native land of this city. I hope in the future the Messenger will speak of these neighbors as human beings with full human rights.
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