Minnesota homeless seek shelter on light rail system

Authorities estimate 200 homeless people use the Twin Cities light rail system for shelter each night and that the number of users is rising.

Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington tells Minnesota Public Radio that the problem has been getting worse since he started the position in 2012.

He says about 85 percent of homeless people on the system have paid fares and aren’t doing anything illegal. Social service agencies may buy homeless people bus or train tokens when they run out of room.

Harrington says there’s a continuous lack of available shelter space and not enough funding for additional shelter beds.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter says an affordable housing shortage is contributing to the homeless problem. The city opened a temporary shelter in the winter, but the $400,000 cost was only funded through March.

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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org

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