Park Warming Houses Serve Unsheltered

Ongoing partnerships help move unsheltered residents off public land as temperatures drop. 

Andrea Hinderaker, Homeless Assistance Response Team (HART) Program Coordinator for the City of Saint Paul, shared this winter’s Cold Weather Plan for Unsheltered Residents with the Saint Paul Parks Commission. Three Saint Paul sites, including park facilities, will be run by Ramsey County as overnight warming houses to address the lack of shelter beds available. Phalen Activity Center, the Newell Park Building, and Union Gospel Mission will be open from 9:30 PM to 6:30 AM. They will provide seating, blankets, light snacks, hot beverages, mittens, and hats. Each location will have two staff plus volunteers on duty every night and a floating supervisor.

The plan also addresses the difficulty unsheltered residents face getting from shelter to shelter in the search for beds by offering a van transportation loop every night from 9:00 PM to 6:30 AM. One loop will include the adult warming spaces at Phalen and Union Gospel Mission, Safe Space the St Paul Opportunity Center. A second loop will provide transportation for youth and families to Newell Park, Union Depot, and Maplewood Mall.

While the warming spaces are planned for December through February, transportation and referral staff will operate through June 30, 2023. Funding for the program is supported by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARRPA) funds allocated to the state.

Saint Paul created the Homeless Assistance Response Team (HART) in late 2021 to address an unprecedented rise in homeless encampments amid a regional crisis in affordable housing.  

Anchored in the Department of Safety and Inspections, HART works across departments, service providers, and government jurisdictions to integrate services and connect directly with our community’s most vulnerable residents, one person at a time. 

Photo: Newell Park Building, Saint Paul Parks Conservancy