Homelessness On The Rise In Central Minnesota

Homelessness On The Rise In Central Minnesota Click to Enlarge Photo: KNSI News

May 4, 2017 at 4:45 am

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - The number of homeless people in central Minnesota is on the rise and officials are doing their best to keep up.

The county says the most recent count shows there are 862 homeless people in the 13 county area included in the study, a nearly 10 percent increase from the last count in 2015.

Officials don't break the numbers down by city, only by county, so the exact number of homeless people in St. Cloud is not known.

Stearns County offers a wide variety of services for some of the 633 sheltered homeless people that seek resources or services in central Minnesota.

"It's really based on what the client needs, you know if they're in need of mental health support services, physical health services, chemical dependency, it's really going to be tailored to that specific persons needs," homeless outreach social worker Leigh Lessard said.

229 homeless people are listed as unsheltered, some of which may be living in homeless camps.

Camping inside the city limits of St. Cloud is illegal.

"Law enforcement will often contact me and say hey we found a camp, would you be willing to come out and offer some services and resources, before we have to ask them to move along," Lessard said.

With the weather getting warmer it's likely that more homeless panhandlers will be around town even though it's also illegal.

KNSI News spoke with Army Veteran Michael (pictured below) as he was holding a sign asking for money along 5th Ave.

If you'd like to help, organizations like Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army can always use volunteers for the various services they offer.

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