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Getting to understand the truths of homelessness

As Rochester grows, so does its homeless population. One group, "The Landing, MN Inc." is taking to art to tackle the issue.

Posted: Jul 23, 2019 11:14 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. -

Mayor Kim Norton has made homelessness a top priority from day one of her tenure, even going so far as to create a task force devoted to the issue. Rochester Police also look into ways to keep homeless people safe - while maintaining order in the skyways.

But getting to understand the faces of those homeless is a different story. The Landing, MN Inc. shared these portraits in an effort to get people to understand the plights of people in need.

The Arnold family is a family of five including their father, a bi-lateral amputee. He lost everything after a fire engulfed their apartment.

"Tonight's our last day at the Dorothy Day," Melinda Arnold said. "We don't really have anywhere to go."

The unpredictability of Minnesota weather makes every day a gamble.

"Being outside in the heat or the cold all day because we don't have anywhere to go," Arnold said.

The Arnolds are also tasked with warding off taboos.

"People look at us weird because we have all our children outside," Arnold said. "We didn't ask to be in this situation. We didn't ask to have a fire."

Dan Fifield and his wife - Holly- the founders of the Landing, MN Inc. say the Arnolds' story is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding the homeless.

"We can't judge one another," Holly Fifield said. "We just have to stop to see where we're at and where's our next step forward?"

That's exactly what Melinda Arnold wants people to understand as they peer at the sweet and innocent faces of her children.

"Everybody's not homeless becuase they don't want to work hard with what they need," Arnold said. "Everybody's not on drugs. We're clean. We take great care of our kids."

According to the Landing MN Inc's latest numbers, there are at least 400 people in Rochester facing homelessness.

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