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President and CEO of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis speaks at Mayor Norton's 3rd work group on homelessness

If Rochester restricts skyway use, where will the city's homeless population go? That's a question the city and county are working to find an answer for.

Posted: Jul 10, 2019 10:53 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - City of Rochester and Olmsted County leaders met with CEO and President of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis Tim Marx on Wednesday to discuss Rochester's homelessness problem. He gave insight on how the city can handle the issue before it turns into a crisis, as many other cities are experiencing.

"What is so heartening to see in my hometown is the type of collaboration that is coming together to address what is right now not a crisis, but a problem," says Marx.

After the discussion, Marx presented at Mayor Norton's Work Group on Homelessness at the Mayo Civic Center.

Leighton Munger stood up in the crowd to speak for his friends who live on the streets and in the skyways. He lives in the skyways for three months before moving to a halfway house. "They need a place where they can go to tonight, not tomorrow night, but tonight."

The city has identified the old Silver Lake Fire Station as a possible site for a shelter. However, Mayor Kim Norton expresses concern for the not-so-distant winter months. "We still have renovations even if we do find a place to bring something up to speed. I'm very nervous," she says.

If the city doesn't have a solution before winter, Munger hopes Rochester holds off on enforcing skyway restrictions. "I hope they have a solution by then... I know they're going to help it out... the mayor held this meeting and I think that she's doing the right thing. She's going to say the right things to the right people," says Munger.

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