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Addressing homelessness in Rochester

The Salvation Army Warming Center is not opening tonight which means homeless people will have to use the skyways or find other places to stay warm tonight. Several homeless people say this is a problem and Mayor Kim Norton says she will do what she can to find a solution.

Posted: Feb. 18, 2019 11:16 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. -

Bobby has been homeless since last May and sleeps in the Skyway during the cold nights. The brutal winter is taking a toll on him.

"I got really sick," Bobby said. "Pneumonia. It was bad."

All he wants is safe shelter when it gets cold.

"We'd actually have a place to go crash our head, a place to sit and visit with each other and not have to be kicked out," Bobby said.

Mayor Kim Norton acknowledged the problem he faces. The city has a lot of difficulties in managing its homeless population.

"There weren't enough places for women for instance," Norton said. "There weren't enough places for families. When the shelters opened, how do you know how much room they have? When police or someone in our community runs across someone in our community, where do you send them?"

Norton is aware finding adequate shelter for the city's homeless will not happen overnight.

"The biggest issues like providing long-term housing or having something that goes all day or it has supportive services...those are longer-term problems, and those that will take a little bit longer to solve," Norton said.

As Norton and her Task Force find ways to help those struggling in the Med City, Bobby will make due with his sleeping bag and blankets.

"I make the best of it," Bobby said.

There will be a meeting held at the Rochester Public Library this Wednesday to find more ways to help the homeless.

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