Homes and homelessness

Despite the relatively good news on the employment front, there are not enough beds in shelters for homeless Minnesotans. In St. Paul, reports MPR, the big two shelter providers are both coming up short. Union Gospel Mission opened a chapel to provide space for an additional 25 men, after months of having to turn away homeless men. Catholic Charities is considering converting a meeting room in an office building to sleeping space for 30 people, with the 250-person Dorothy Day Center at or near capacity.

“I’m more concerned as we approach mid-January,” said Gerry Lauer, program director at Dorothy Day. “Right now, it’s kind of a guessing game.”

St. Paul city officials are also talking about possible ways to expand shelter space.

The plans could include using a St. Paul fire station or another city building to serve as a temporary overflow shelter, said Joe Collins, a program coordinator with the city’s Planning and Economic Development department. He said that St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman plans to meet with county officials Friday to discuss the issue.

Nationally, homelessness is still rising, with more mortgage foreclosures coming. Associated Press reports a study that shows 1.7 million homes on the brink of foreclosure.

The number, up from 1.1 million a year earlier, is likely to keep rising through the middle of next year or later, said Mark Fleming, chief economist of First American CoreLogic, the real estate research firm that released the study.

Some other reports show even higher estimates.

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