Homelessness on the rise My name is Roxanne Swanson, I grew up in Hastings. I moved away in 1997 but found my way back home in 2013. The last few years, I have noticed tents placed in parks, folks …
Homelessness on the rise
My name is Roxanne Swanson, I grew up in Hastings. I moved away in 1997 but found my way back home in 2013. The last few years, I have noticed tents placed in parks, folks taking shelter in hallways of apartment buildings, and others sleeping in cars. In 2017, I knew of a single mother who had no place to go; she and her five-yearold daughter walked the streets. She sought help from Hastings Family Service (HFS). They could not provide a place to stay but gave her the number to a shelter in Eagan— roughly 20 miles away. The shelter had a long waiting list. HFS provided her with a tent and suggested she sleep in a park. She was able to find other arrangements for her daughter while she camped in a park with other homeless people. Wilder Research reported that homelessness had increased by 10% between 2015 and 2018; I assume that number continues to climb due to COVID. Anyone is at risk of becoming homeless for various reasons, such as job loss, the onset of a disability, or a shortage of affordable housing. The solution seems simple (e.g., building more shelters), but funding is limited. What we can do as a community is donate to HFS, offer supportive resources, and be kind to all who cross our path. You can also call or write to your local representative about your concerns and advocate for more funding for homeless services and shelters in the Hastings area.