City response to homelessness

Read about the City's ongoing efforts to humanely support unsheltered individuals.
A person sits at the bottom of an outdoor staircase with a sign that says help


Cross departmental and multi-agency effort

Through a collaborative cross-departmental and multi-agency effort, the City’s Homeless Response Team (HRT) addresses encampments by building relationships and sharing information that connects unsheltered individuals to resources, services, and shelter.

The City of Minneapolis and HRT are not direct service providers; our work continues to revolve around connecting unsheltered individuals to the services and resources provided by Hennepin County and community partners. 

Encampments can create health and safety risks for the people living there, as well as the surrounding community. The City must balance the needs of unsheltered individuals, community members, and business owners in its response. 

Health and safety concerns at encampments include: 

  • Open drug use 
  • Trash and odors 
  • Infestation  
  • Violent crime 
  • Defecation in public spaces 

Community members have expressed concerns about: 

  • Used needles left on the street and sidewalk 
  • Water and electricity being siphoned from nearby properties 
  • Property damage 
  • People experiencing burglary, threats, assault, and theft 


We work with our partners through our outreach and engagement efforts and referral of unsheltered individuals to services. We collaborate to address the needs of the individuals we engage with to be able to connect them to the right resources.

  • American Indian Community Development Corporation (AICDC) 
  • Avivo 
  • Downtown Improvement District (DID) 
  • Hennepin County Healthcare for the Homeless 
  • Hennepin County Streets to Housing 
  • The Link 
  • Metro Transit Homeless Action Team (HAT) 
  • Minneapolis Parks and Recreation

Learn more about our approach and operational guidelines  


person's hands on laptop keys

Data and visualizations: Supporting unsheltered individuals

Visit our dashboard to learn more about how we support unsheltered individuals, and view maps and data.

Team experience  

The Homelessness Response Team was formed in 2021 and brings decades of experience in social work, rapid re-housing, and working with unsheltered populations facing mental health and substance abuse issues. Daily engagement at encampment sites is a central part of their approach. Homeless Response Coordinators are in the field 5 days a week and regularly respond to calls and emails from community members. Homeless response coordinators bring real life experience and provide help that is: 

  • Culturally considerate 
  • Trauma informed 
  • Equity focused 

Meet people where they’re at  

Homeless Response Coordinators work to understand the needs of the people living in encampments. The team recognizes that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution and to be effective they need to meet people where they’re at. We: 

  • Coordinate with Hennepin County for housing assessments and/or case management  
  • Connect individuals to service providers or their existing case worker
  • Provide the opportunity for storage through the Downtown Improvement District 
  • Connect to shelter services
  • Provide medical attention with Healthcare for the Homeless
  • Facilitate transportation to resources 

Encampment closures

We are focused on ensuring the health and safety of unsheltered individuals and community at large. The decision to close an encampment is based upon an objective review of encampment conditions. There are four factors that we consider before moving forward with a closure: 

  • Neighborhood impact: geographic size, number of unsheltered individuals, proximity to schools, businesses, and residences, and 911/311 call volume 
  • Health impact: presence of pregnant individuals, minors, hygiene, and environmental conditions 
  • Safety impact: unstable structures, weather conditions, drug use, violence, propane tanks, and illegal activity 
  • External impact: accounts from neighbors and business owners, and imminent development, demolition, or renovation.

City investments

In an unprecedented investment, the City has provided nearly $1 million in one-time funding to Helix Health and Housing Services to provide residents living at the former Nenookaasi encampment in south Minneapolis with culturally specific housing, mental health services, and substance use treatment. The funding comes from the City’s opioid settlement funds. Helix has housed approximately 100 people and has started work on Phase II of the contract to provide culturally specific treatment services.

Since the pandemic, the City has invested over $200 million in housing and homelessness strategies. An example is the Belfry Apartments at 39th and Chicago. Belfry has 41 deeply affordable rental units serving households at or below 30% area median income (AMI), with five units dedicated to people with disabilities and supportive services provided by Simpson Services, along with 10 units dedicated to people or families experiencing homelessness provided by Hennepin County Coordinated Entry.

Additionally, the City of Minneapolis, through the Departments of Community Planning & Economic Development (CPED) and Regulatory Services provided funding this year to support Hennepin County’s efforts to provide safe warming centers. We have the capacity to offer everyone a warm safe place this winter. Learn about warming options and spread the word to those that need it. 

View a detailed overview of the Encampment closure process

Resources for unsheltered individuals

The City provides a comprehensive list of resources for people experiencing homelessness or financial hardship.

Resources for property owners

The Homeless Response Team supports private property owners in their management of the encampment on their property. We do this by assessing the site and offering resources and connecting unsheltered individuals to services

If you believe an encampment is forming on your property, you can contact either 

To curb trespassing, you can:

  • Get no trespassing signs by contacting your neighborhood Crime Prevention Specialist, and post the signs on the property.
    Contact your Crime Prevention Specialist
  • Tell unsheltered individuals on the property that they are trespassing.

To report continued trespassing or criminal activity:

Property owner responsibilities

You are responsible for cleaning up trash on your property. If there are syringes, use appropriate protective gear and dispose of them safely.

To secure your property, you are strongly encouraged to hire private security to monitor the site.

Once the property is cleared, we encourage you to fence and secure it so that unsheltered individuals do not return. 

Below is a list of fence contractors that operate in Minneapolis. You are welcome to contact them or any other fence contractor you may find.

Security Fence & Construction

Fence Company Minneapolis
Fence Company Minneapolis on Facebook

St. Paul Fence Company

National Construction Rentals

Request accessible format

If you need help with this information, please email 311, or call 311 or 612-673-3000.

Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Contact us

Homelessness Response Team

Regulatory Services


Minneapolis 311


Office hours

7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Monday – Friday