Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board

Resolution
2020-267

Resolution Amending Adopted Resolution 2020-253 to Limit the Total Number Parks Available for Temporary Encampments and Provide Direction for the Design and Facilitation of Temporary Encampments in Parks that Supports the Health and Safety of Individuals Experiencing Homelessness and Preserves Access to Recreation Features for Park Visitors

Information

Department:Superintendent's OfficeSponsors:
Category:PolicyProjects:No Project

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Item Discussion

Whereas, The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) is the steward of the Minneapolis Parks;

 

Whereas, The mission of the MPRB states that the MPRB exists to provide places and recreational opportunities for all people to gather, celebrate, contemplate, and engage in activities to promote health, well-being, community, and the environment;

 

Whereas, COVID-19 has created a health, economic and unemployment crisis that has resulted in an increase in the intensity and severity of homelessness; 

 

Whereas, The MPRB recognizes that sheltering homeless people in Minneapolis parks is not a safe, proper or dignified form of housing and is, at best, a temporary solution for encampment individuals before cold weather arrives;

 

Whereas, The Board of Commissioners adopted Resolution 2020-253 during its regular meeting of June 17, 2020 to provide refuge for individuals experiencing homelessness and, now, seeks to provide guidelines upon its commitment to provide refuge as well as guidance on design and facilitation supporting health and safety, and formally request assistance from agencies and organizations that have clear and defined responsibility for addressing homelessness;

 

Whereas, Governor Walz pursuant to Executive Orders 20-33 and 20-55  declared a peacetime emergency that prevented the removal of homeless people from locations except in certain specific cases subject to certain specific requirements and, as part of a meeting conducted on June 27, 2020, the Executive Branch of the State of Minnesota clarified the directives of Executive Order 20-55  and the state provided subsequent explicit guidelines that local jurisdictions shall have the sole responsibility for determining the size of encampments allowed under Executive Order 20-55 and that limitations on encampment size, when documented by the local jurisdiction, would be considered aligned with Executive Order 20-55;

 

Whereas, Encampments allowed under Resolution 2020-253 have been established at 38 Minneapolis parks as of July 8, 2020, with 25 of those encampments having one to three tents,  and two large encampments at Powderhorn Park where the population of those persons who provided no permanent address and were deemed homeless was established at 282 occupants on July 9, 2020;

 

Whereas, City of Minneapolis Public Health Department and the Hennepin County Office to End Homelessness noted the size of the Powderhorn Park encampment and some newly emerging encampments at other parks are not consistent with the health guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore fail to conform to best practices for public health and human safety;

 

Whereas, Staff of MPRB, City of Minneapolis, and Hennepin County have observed conditions of encampments, and based on observations of conditions of encampments and clarification of certain Executive Orders, the Superintendent and park staff believe it is necessary based on the public health and safety of camp residents and neighborhood residents to receive further guidance related  Resolution 2020-253:

 

Whereas, The MPRB requires assistance from City, County and State agencies to serve the basic public and mental health needs and other necessary social service needs of encampment populations;

 

Whereas, The MPRB requires assistance from those City, County and State agencies to assure encampment occupants can be provided safe and dignified shelter or housing upon leaving an encampment in a Minneapolis park;

 

Whereas, The MPRB requires assistance from those City, County and State agencies to assist in a process of reducing the size of encampments as needed to ensure remaining occupants are afforded necessary, proper and sustainable public health services and human safety conditions;

 

Whereas, The MPRB recognizes, with gratitude, encampments in Minneapolis parks are being serviced in whole or in part, by non-profit entities and volunteers, and that the services offered by those non-profit entities and volunteers will be critical to the continued service to encampments in Minneapolis parks;

 

Whereas, The MPRB lacks the critical physical, financial and infrastructure resources necessary to serve occupants of encampments in parks with physical and mental health needs and other necessary social services associated with the unique populations of the encampments;

 

Whereas, The Board determines that establishing a limit on the number of encampments in Minneapolis parks is necessary to allow the MPRB and other providers to best deliver needed services to each encampment;

 

Whereas, Some Minneapolis parks are capable of accommodating more than a single encampment, but each such encampment is best organized according to guidance aligned with best practices for public health and human safety;

 

Whereas, MPRB staff have developed design criteria for encampments recognizing distancing requirements related to COVID-19 and access for emergency and service vehicles while not impeding use of recreational facilities by park visitors and are organizing this information in an Encampment Management Plan for Minneapolis parks;

 

Whereas, The MPRB recognizes that movements between encampments may best occur using volunteer resources guided by staff of various agencies;

 

Whereas, The MPRB recognizes that while in effect Executive Orders 20-33 and 20-55 supersede Park Board Ordinance PB2-33 which does not allow a person to remain in any park between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 6:00 a.m., unless taking part in an activity conducted by, or pursuant to a permit issued by, the Park Board, and for some parks this restriction starts at 10 p.m.; and

 

Whereas, The Board of Commissioners understands that formal requests for assistance from the State of Minnesota, Hennepin County, and the City of Minneapolis may be submitted, and that staff is preparing such formal requests in alignment with a plan for managing encampments;

 

Resolved, That that Board of Commissioners amends adopted Resolution 2020-253 to require a temporary Encampment Permit for no more than 25 tents at a given site,  and limits the number of Minneapolis parks with encampments to a quantity not greater than 20, and furthermore allowing for consolidation of encampment locations to accommodate existing encampment occupants;

 

Resolved, MPRB directs staff to analyze parks for their capacity to support encampments while preserving safe and comfortable access to recreation features for park visitors, and to conform to state law regarding the proximity of encampments to school safe zones and to not locate encampments near those school zones, and communicate publicly those parks so designated as capable of accommodating encampments (Refuge Sites);

 

Resolved, That the Board of Commissioners directs staff to prepare, execute and update as necessary an Encampment Management Plan for managing Refuge Sites and permitted encampments in Minneapolis parks supporting the health and safety of encampment occupants and access to recreation features for park visitors;

 

Resolved, The Board of Commissioners directs staff to implement design criteria for encampments that provides adequate distancing for COVID-19, access for emergency vehicles, and does not impede use of designated recreational facilities by park visitors consistent with the Encampment Management Plan through an Encampment Permit;

 

Resolved, The Board of Commissioners establishes that no more than 10% of usable (non-water or natural area) acreage of any designated Refuge Site can be allocated to use for encampments;

 

Resolved, That the Board of Commissioners directs staff to establish a temporary Encampment Permit by July 16, 2020, with  terms and conditions relevant to oversight of an encampment,  that can be issued to an individual volunteer, volunteers, non-profit corporation, legal entity, government or non-governmental partner or agency who agrees to be responsible for the day-to-day oversight and regulation of an encampment that includes up to 25 tents per permit based on a park capacity analysis and including tents dedicated to providing services and storage within the encampment;

 

Resolved, That any encampment that does not have a necessary permit pursuant to this resolution will be subject to removal from park property;

 

Resolved, That the Board of Commissioners establishes that there can be multiple encampments within a Refuge Site, but that the number of tents at any one Refuge Site or within a permitted encampment can only increase per guidance of the Encampment Management Plan;

 

Resolved, That the Board of Commissioners directs staff to work with its agency partners and volunteers supporting encampments in Minneapolis parks to move encampment occupants to parks designated for encampments and, especially, to work with encampment volunteers to move people to parks designated for encampments as a means of deconcentrating large existing encampments;

 

Resolved, The Board of Commissioners sets the expectation that Park Board ordinances apply to encampments and requires as a condition of a permit that the permit holder(s) and encampment occupants reinforce Park Board ordinances within an encampment; 

 

Resolved, That the Board of Commissioners directs staff to provide restrooms or portable toilets, hand washing stations (as vendor supplies allow), and trash/recycling containers to a permitted encampment within 48 hours of issuing an Encampment Permit, and will provide fencing as funding allows if requested  by the permit holder;

 

Resolved, That the Board of Commissioners sets a goal of September 15, 2020 for staff to provide an update on progress toward moving encampment occupants into shelter and housing suitable for winter conditions; 

 

Resolved, The Board of Commissioners requests that the State of Minnesota increase funds to address the homelessness crisis; 

 

Resolved, That the Board of Commissioners directs staff to submit formal written requests to the State of Minnesota, Hennepin County, and the City of Minneapolis, as appropriate, for assistance in managing encampments and serving encampment occupants aligned with the Encampment Management Plan;

 

Resolved, Notwithstanding the foregoing if any condition under Executive Order 20-55 exists wherein the in the judgement of the Superintendent that there exists a documented threat to the to the health, safety, or security of residents the Superintendent may restrict, limit, or close encampments based on exigent circumstance; and

 

Resolved, That the President and Secretary of the Board are authorized to take all necessary administrative actions to implement this resolution.

 

Body

Background

Resolution added at the request of President Cowgill.

Meeting History

Jul 15, 2020 5:00 PM  Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Regular Meeting

Motion to Amend as Follows: Resolved, MPRB directs staff to analyze parks for their capacity to support encampments while preserving safe and comfortable access to recreation features for park visitors (Insert: , and to conform to state law regarding the proximity of encampments to school safe zones) and to not locate encampments near those school zones, and communicate publicly those parks so designated as capable of accommodating encampments (Refuge Sites);

Amendment Approved on a Roll Call Vote.

RESULT:AMENDMENT ADOPTED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:LaTrisha Vetaw, Vice President, Commissioner At Large
SECONDER:Meg Forney, Commissioner At Large
AYES:Jono Cowgill, LaTrisha Vetaw, Meg Forney, Londel French, Chris Meyer, Kale Severson, AK Hassan, Steffanie Musich, Brad Bourn
Jul 15, 2020 5:00 PM  Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Regular Meeting

Motion to Amend as Follows: (Remove: Resolved, Given its size and history the Board of Commissioners grants special permission for the Powderhorn Park encampments and seeks necessary partners who can obtain permits that will be exempt from the foregoing size limits with the desire to immediately limit the current size of the encampment and to develop a plan that will reduce the current number of people and tents significantly over a three-week time period based on the approval date of this resolution;)

Amendment Approved on a Roll Call Vote.

RESULT:AMENDMENT ADOPTED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:LaTrisha Vetaw, Vice President, Commissioner At Large
SECONDER:Londel French, Commissioner At Large
AYES:Jono Cowgill, LaTrisha Vetaw, Meg Forney, Londel French, Chris Meyer, Kale Severson, AK Hassan, Steffanie Musich, Brad Bourn
Jul 15, 2020 5:00 PM  Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Regular Meeting

Motion to Amend as Follows: (Insert: Resolved, Notwithstanding the foregoing if any condition under Executive Order 20-55 exists wherein the in the judgement of the Superintendent that there exists a documented threat to the to the health, safety, or security of residents the Superintendent may restrict, limit, or close encampments based on exigent circumstance; and)

Amendment Approved on a Roll Call Vote.

RESULT:AMENDMENT ADOPTED [7 TO 2]
MOVER:LaTrisha Vetaw, Vice President, Commissioner At Large
SECONDER:Meg Forney, Commissioner At Large
AYES:Jono Cowgill, LaTrisha Vetaw, Meg Forney, Chris Meyer, AK Hassan, Steffanie Musich, Brad Bourn
NAYS:Londel French, Kale Severson
Jul 15, 2020 5:00 PM  Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Regular Meeting

Motion to Amend as Follows: Resolved, That that Board of Commissioners amends adopted Resolution 2020-253 to require a temporary Encampment Permit for no more than 25 tents at a given site, and limits the number of Minneapolis parks with encampments to a quantity not greater than 20 (Insert: , in addition to the following Board Approved Locations: the public right-of-way around cedar lake where private permanent encampments are already on public land, staff designated areas near the near 99 year private MPRB authorized encampments on Nicollet island, areas of Lyndale farmstead park near the permanent park board established encampment, areas of 1828 Marshall, areas of 1720 Marshall, areas of bohemian flats, areas of the parking lot at the MPRB Headquarters, areas of the commons park), and furthermore allowing for consolidation of encampment locations to accommodate existing encampment occupants;

(Insert: Resolved, the Board of Commissioners directs staff to work with other government agencies to examine potential alternatives locations that could accommodate people going through homelessness while there remains an inadequate supply of shelter spaces or permanent housing options to accommodate them, such as the Minnesota State Fairgrounds and the Uptown Kmart location)

Motion to Amend Failed on a Roll Call Vote.

RESULT:AMENDMENT DEFEATED [1 TO 8]
MOVER:Brad Bourn, Commissioner District 6
SECONDER:Kale Severson, Commissioner District 2
AYES:Brad Bourn
NAYS:Jono Cowgill, LaTrisha Vetaw, Meg Forney, Londel French, Chris Meyer, Kale Severson, AK Hassan, Steffanie Musich
Jul 15, 2020 5:00 PM  Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Regular Meeting

Approved as Amended on a Roll Call Vote.

RESULT:ADOPTED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:Meg Forney, Commissioner At Large
SECONDER:Steffanie Musich, Commissioner District 5
AYES:Jono Cowgill, LaTrisha Vetaw, Meg Forney, Londel French, Chris Meyer, Kale Severson, AK Hassan, Steffanie Musich, Brad Bourn