Bring the homeless in from the cold

The state should not spend millions on stadiums while the poor lack shelter.

Mike ZittlowâÄôs Feb. 3 article, âÄúWinter cold drives homeless into U buildings,âÄù does an excellent job pointing out the increase in homeless individuals using the University of MinnesotaâÄôs buildings as a safe haven from the cold, bringing to light a social stigma which plagues Minnesota and the rest of the U.S.
According to a study conducted Oct. 22, 2009, by the Wilder Foundation, 9,654 individuals were homeless in Minnesota that particular night.
Of those 9,654, 3,478 were under the age of 18. Personally, since I enrolled at the University in 2008, I have noticed an influx of homeless people around campus.
As the state prepares to tighten their spending belt even more this coming year, the homeless will likely be the last ones to be considered on the stateâÄôs balance sheet.
The Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Vikings and St. Paul Saints have begun courting the state with plans for new or renovated venues which will cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars.
Likely, these state-of-the-art venues will not be accessible to the stateâÄôs poorest. Although these facilities are very attractive and help spur the stateâÄôs economy, we must recognize the stateâÄôs wanton spending that only benefits the rich.
The increase in homeless individuals using the UniversityâÄôs buildings as shelter should spark public interest in trying to end the disparity between the rich and the poor here in Minnesota.
There must be a collective effort between state officials, grassroots organizations and well-informed citizens to develop more programs that will benefit our stateâÄôs most vulnerable individuals.
Instead of referring to our homeless as âÄúvagrantsâÄù at the University, we should consider them to be a reminder of the hardships that thousands of MinnesotaâÄôs homeless face in these bitterly cold months.