MINNEAPOLIS - Last month, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced he will work with city leaders and native american community leaders to find long-term solutions for the homeless population camped out near Hiawatha and Cedar avenues.
The so called 100-day action plan outlines that by the end of September, the city will close the encampment and hopefully have an offsite location that can connect people with critical resources.
While the September 30th deadline looms, the encampment continues to grow.
Dr. Antony Stately who works with Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors says he estimates around 250 to 300 people are currently at the campsite.
Among the hundreds is Maggie, her five children and three grandchildren.
"Where we were, the guy that we were around was really terrible," she explained. "The last straw was when he went and drenched all our stuff with water."
That's when she decided she would bring her family to Hiawatha. One of her daughters is expecting a child and they have applied for housing through the state. She says she is waiting, but they're running out of time.
"I'm hoping before it gets too cold anyway," Maggie said. "It's already kind of chilly at night so hopefully we get in soon."
Dr. Stately is also the CEO of the Native American Community Clinic that sits a few blocks away from the Hiawatha encampment. He says he has been working for a few weeks now to bring vital treatment to those who need it at the site.
He says he worries about hygiene, nutrition and communicable diseases.
"The medical issues which is what I've been paying attention to are exacerbated significantly by them not having stable housing," Stately said. He explained that Friday morning he brought in a father and a child who had been infected by strep throat into his clinic. He worried that others living near them may have also caught the bacteria.
Many people have also referred to the encampment as "The Wall of Forgotten Natives." Stately says he recently had a discussion with a friend about that name-- he says it simply is too rosy of a narrative.
"It's really the wall of throwaway people right," Stately said. "Our society has decided that these people are really just dispensable in one shape or another. To me that's heartbreaking."
However, the city of Minneapolis is working hard to prove, that's not the case. Wednesday, city leaders met and discussed the plans to roll out "navigation centers." According to city documents, the centers will provide emergency transitional services to address immediate needs. They also outlined they are looking at establishing "culturally-focused and informed transitional housing options" for the American Indian community.
Friday, they announced they still hadn't decided on a physical location of where these centers will go.
Meanwhile, Maggie at the encampment says she will continue to wait for her housing application through the state.