Higher Ground beating homelessness

New shelter gets homeless off the streets and back on their feet.

Editorial board

The nearing winter months should make us realize just how fortunate we are to have a warm place to sleep, food and enough money to get by. While those items seem basic and relatively easy to come by, that’s not the case for more than 13,000 people living on the streets in Minnesota.

In Minneapolis alone, there are between 300 and 400 people without shelter on any given night. A newly built facility in downtown Minneapolis, Higher Ground, will take more than 300 people off Minneapolis streets while also providing mental-health services, substance-abuse rehabilitation and employment assistance.

The facility, which replaced the poorly structured Catholic Charities building, has more than 294 windows and seven floors of accommodation divided into areas of immediate emergency shelter, “pay for stay” beds and rooms for those with a long history of homelessness.

Higher Ground plans to do more than just provide shelter for those in need. Over the next 10 years, the facility will work with Minneapolis in reaching their ambitious goal of becoming the first city to end homelessness in the nation. Although the goal seems overstretched and almost impossible — families in need of shelter in Hennepin County increased 17 percent since last year — there has been improvement in how facilities like Higher Ground help the homeless get back on their feet.

We must be mindful that while poverty and homelessness seem ubiquitous in our nation’s inner cities, it’s not an impossible problem to solve, and efforts to eradicate it do make a difference.

Shelters like Higher Ground, which provide additional services beyond the basic place to sleep at night, are a step forward in the direction to break the cycle of homelessness.