Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Thursday signed an emergency regulation aimed at the rapid creation of a new form of housing for the homeless.
The move is meant to speed up the opening of an “indoor village,” which would contain roughly 100 tiny shelters, inside one warehouse. Local officials are looking to sign a lease at 1251 N. Washington Av. and said construction could begin as early as next week.
While the emergency regulation is aimed at helping that project, it could also apply to others, provided they have the necessary shelter or lodging licenses and certificate of occupancy.
Frey has the authority to issue temporary regulations under the city’s coronavirus emergency declaration, provided they are aimed at responding to the pandemic. Local officials have said they hope the “indoor village” model will allow for more social distancing.
Frey said he chose to issue this one because, “Time is of the essence. It’s getting cold and, to put it bluntly, we want to save lives.”
The shelter will be operated by Avivo, an organization that provides services to the homeless. Minneapolis is slated to give nearly $2 million for the project, which will come out of CARES Act funding. The state and Hennepin County are also helping with the project.