“This came up on its own, and what it’s become is not what we want to provide,” said Amanda Laumeyer, senior director of development at St. Patrick. “There’s no services, it’s not dignified, not clean. It’s not safe. At 3 a.m. anyone can walk up to a tent and open it.”
Laumeyer was concerned for the safety of St. Patrick staff and others in the building just due to the proximity to the plaza, she said. Some homeless people carry around sticks, poles or bats in order to defend themselves.
The St. Patrick Center has partnered with the city and StarWood Group — a real estate development company led by Square co-founder Jim McKelvey and John Berglund — to create a shelter nearby.
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It’s a warehouse owned by StarWood at the corner of Cole Street and 14th Street, about a five-minute walk from Interco Plaza. St. Patrick has filled it with 40 tents placed on wood pallets as well as couches and chairs. The warehouse, now dubbed Camp Cole, has bathroom facilities. St. Patrick staffers were encouraging the homeless to move to the warehouse, promising it as a safer location with more reliable access to resources from St. Patrick, including programs like Alcoholics Anonymous.
“It’s hard for me to look at Interco Plaza and not think that there’s a better solution,” Laumeyer said.
But some residents of the plaza didn’t want to leave. Homeless people have built a community of sorts at the plaza, said Timothy, a 46-year-old homeless man who has lived at the plaza for two weeks. He declined to provide his last name. Timothy was forced out of his Dutchtown apartment three weeks ago because he objected to his roommate using meth, he said.
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