Mayor Norton plans to tackle homelessness

Rochester Mayor Kim Norton is using the power of the office to put together a task force.

Posted: Feb. 6, 2019 1:33 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - The recent polar vortex showed just how many people needed help finding shelter from the cold. 

"It's been an identified issue in the community already, but the cold snap really brought it to a head," Rochester Mayor Kim Norton said. 

It has her tackling homelessness in Rochester a little sooner than planned. She's creating a task force to address homelessness in the community. 

It would help people find shelters with foods and beds, and get them out of the skyways and buses. But she also has her eye on getting people off the streets all together. 

"In the long term, we have a larger problem, which is a need for transitional and affordable housing for homeless and our low income residents," Mayor Norton said. "Take what we've learned and then really take it to the next step and see if we can find long term solutions." 

At first, the task force will mostly consist of people who directly interact with the homeless like first responders, and city and shelter staff. Then it may grow into a group where community members can volunteer to help. 

Mayor Norton plans to have the first task force next week. 

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