Shelter from heat wave available in Minneapolis, Hennepin County

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The homeless and anyone else looking for a place to cool down during the relentless heat wave have numerous options across Minneapolis and Hennepin County.

Officials reiterated that message Thursday at a news conference as a stubborn stretch of temperatures in the 90s continues in the forecast this weekend and into next week. The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for noon to 8 p.m. Friday.

"We need everyone to be looking out for their neighbor," said Mayor Jacob Frey. "We need everybody to be looking out for those that are most vulnerable in our city and make sure that they have the right information."

Residents can find cCooling center locations in Hennepin County, Minnesota's largest, online via an interactive map (go to hennepin.us/cool). Locations include the Salvation Army, public libraries, community centers, wading pools and beaches. The Hennepin County Government Center is also a cooling center, open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Ramsey County also has a map of spots to find relief from the heat (go to bit.ly/3hY4CpD to see the map).

Frey encouraged those experiencing unsheltered homelessness to call Adult Shelter Connect (612-248-2350) and seek refuge from the heat in one of the city's overnight shelter facilities, which are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Since this time last year, the city has added 200 additional beds in its homeless shelter network, and there's another 36-bed facility currently under construction, said Andrea Brennan, director of community planning and economic development for the city of Minneapolis. The Shelter Connect program hasn't had to turn anyone away due to capacity since April 2020, Frey said.

Brennan said the city will send outreach teams to people living in encampments in order to make them aware of the cooling centers and overnight shelters.

Encampment residents might hesitate to take advantage of cooling centers and overnight shelters for a variety of reasons, including the fear that someone might take their personal belongings. Frey offered reassurance that the shelters have designated spaces for residents to store their personal belongings. He also emphasized that these shelter spaces, such as the tiny home community at Avivo Village (avivomn.org/avivovillage), were constructed with input and feedback from the homeless.

Hennepin County Medical Center's emergency department has seen about 30 patients in the last two to three weeks with heat-related complaints, according to a spokesman. Symptoms of heat-related illness include dizziness, dehydration, lethargy, weakness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Star Tribune reporter Kelly Smith contributed to this report.

Maya Miller • 612-673-7086

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