Homelessness

© Deb Holman. Used with permission.

Don't get him wrong; Joel Kilgour is grateful for the public support of people who are homeless when we enter this kind of deep cold.

And as the coordinator of the Chum Warming Center, he's excited about the political will he says is behind a permanent, 24-hour warming center he hopes will be up and running by next year.

Thanks to a network of supports, Joel says he's confident that when people leave the Warming Center in the morning, they have another place to go.

Cameron Venti/Unsplash

Lee Stuart, CHUM's executive director, is locked down at home with COVID-19.

And yesterday, she had to send out an email saying that CHUM had had its first positive confirmed COVID-19 case in the shelter.

But when you talk with her, she's (perhaps) surprisingly upbeat.

Copyright Deb Holman. Used with permission.

Last week, the Twin Ports/Fond du Lac chapter of the American Indian Movement (AIM)marched to bring visibility to homelessness in Duluth. 

And visibility was the idea.  Everyone sees construction workers, says Phoebe Davis, a member of the city's Indigenous Commission (and a longtime KUMD volunteer), so marchers were clad in borrowed reflective vests.

Copyright Deb Holman. Used with permission.

There aren't a lot of benefits to being homeless, but Deb Holman says right now, folks are probably safer outside in tents than inside in a shelter.

The good news is that COVID-9 is not taking a toll on people without homes here in the Northland. Street outreach worker Deb Holman of CHUM and HDC says they're offering folks masks and hand sanitizer and taking temperatures as much as they can, and many of what's called "unsheltered homeless" are already staying away from other people.

Vin Crosbie/Flickr

We've come a long way from the days when Walter Cronkite, the anchorman of the CBS Evening News, was widely hailed as the "most trusted man in America."

Whether you blame the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, the proliferation of the internet, or the shift from "journalists" to "content creators," separating truth from fiction - even as it pertains to those reporting or presenting "the news" has become impossibly complicated.

And at the same time, the most important work, that of local newspapers, radio and television, is disappearing bit by bit.

romanlily/Flickr

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz's "stay-at-home" order is is designed to slow the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and buy as much time as possible for the state's health care system to prepare it.

Minnesotans are being asked to maximize "social distance," wash their hands frequently, avoid all contact with others if they're sick, and take particular precautions to protect folks with compromised immune systems.

In other words, pretty much everything it's impossible to do when you're homeless ... or working with people who are.

Hope Village/hopevillagechippewafalls.com

Next week, Duluth will hold another public meeting to talk about changing zoning ordinances to clear the way for tiny h0mes in the community.  Zoning regulations, many having to do with the minimum size of a home and how many homes can be put on a lot, are a big stumbling block as the tiny house movement tries to gain traction.

Not that long ago, people were shocked at a viral video showing a homeless woman discharged from a hospital to the street here in Duluth.  But that was over a year ago.  Since then, Duluth's Bob Tavani Medical Respite House - one of only 62 in the nation - has provided a safe and nurturing place for homeless persons, giving them the necessary time to fully recuperate from hospital treatments.  

Chances are, you missed artist/documentarian Drew Anderson's video event, "So Much More: From Me to You," at the end of March.  For one thing, it was held outside at the end of March.  

CHUM

It's comfortable to believe that people who are homeless are somehow "other" than we are.  At best, they're people with problems we don't have.  At worst, they're just lazy and don't want to work.

CHUM is doing something a little different with an event they're holding at the beginning of May.  

Deb Holman

Duluth's new warming shelter has helped keep people safe over this last, brutal stretch of deadly cold, but it's still treating a symptom, not the underlying problem.

As CHUM's street outreach worker Deb Holman told us earlier this month, some people with untreated mental health issues find the crowded, sometimes chaotic conditions in a shelter anxiety-producing and some don't like to be around other people. So even with temperatures in the teens and 20s and 30s below, some people are electing to stay outside.

Missing KC-Kristopher Clarke/Facebook

Lissa Yellowbird-Chase knows first-hand about the violence and danger Native American women face.*

But she knows other things, too.  In Canada, a 2016 report found that indigenous women are five times more likely to be victims of homicide than non-indigenous women. But in the United States, says Yellowbird-Chase, there are 1-2% more missing and murdered indigenous men than women.

Deb Holman

A man living in a tent on Duluth's west end was rescued New Year's Day after being found in a nearby ravine.

The man, who may have been trapped in the ravine for several days, was known to local homeless advocates and had refused their services in the past.

People with mental illnesses and chemical dependency problems can refuse treatment for those conditions - and refuse help or other services, too.

But at what point does society need to - or even should - override someone's right to make their own decisions?

In this photo from her Facebook page, Deb Holman wrote the caption, Ive got 5 people moving on the 31st
Deb Holman

[This episode of caring & Sharing originally aired on December 4, 2018, as was re-aired on December 26, 2018.]  

Around 800 names on the list of individuals or families who are experiencing homelessness in St. Louis County.

More than 50 people so far this year who have died on our streets.

Pages