I'm afraid the tent city growing at Catholic Charities' Dorothy Day Center isn't the only canary in our state ("Our capacity to help has been stretched to its limits," Sept. 27). Hennepin County's "overflow" family shelter -- the Drake Hotel -- sheltered 100 families two weeks ago. That's the fullest it has been since the county started using it in 2007. And it's not yet winter.
We have seen an even bigger explosion in the number of Minnesota youths who are homeless and on their own. The estimate of 2,500 homeless youths is a 46 percent increase over just three years.
We can safely house less than one in five of them in youth shelters and transitional housing programs. Thousands of Minnesota young people are on the streets or couch-hopping every night.
Homelessness blankets our entire state. It is an urban, suburban, small-town and rural problem.
Minnesotans can help with two simple actions: 1) Support your local charities that are striving to meet the growing needs, and 2) Talk with your local, state and federal elected officials.
We need short-term solutions and long-term plans.
DEBORAH LOON, MINNEAPOLIS
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A few months ago, residents of International Market Square in Minneapolis noticed new construction a block from our building. After some investigation, we determined that Catholic Charities was expanding its shelter/housing for homeless men.
While we certainly support services that enable the rehabilitation of the homeless, we were shocked that we were not consulted at any time leading up to the construction.
International Market Square is the only residential building within a one-block radius of Catholic Charities. The project was in the works for years and required the sale of public land and rezoning.
Catholic Charities is planning to move its current facility on 10th Street to our neighborhood.
The current location is well-known for the loitering that takes place there 24 hours a day, and it's an area that walkers and bikers avoid on their way into the city. The combined facility will include 200 existing residents and 300 new residents!
While the lack of common sense in failing to notify its closest and only residential neighbor is shocking, our greater concern is the lack of foresight in concentrating homeless men in one area of the city.
Five hundred homeless men, some with mental disabilities and criminal records, will be coming into our neighborhood on a daily basis. The city of Minneapolis was sued in 1995 by the NAACP for concentrating poverty in this very neighborhood.
STEVEN BRUNN, MINNEAPOLIS
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To the Sept. 28 letter writer who cited Israel's fear of a nonnegotiated Palestinian state: Are you aware of the Israeli control of the aquifer under Area C of the West Bank along the Jordan River?
That is supposedly Palestinian land.
How patient would you be if you had to beg for water, sometimes lost electricity, had to continually wait at checkpoints (many of which are within the West Bank), had Israeli settlers on West Bank land harassing you, possibly had your home demolished -- and all this had been going on since at least 1967?
Back in 1948, many thousands of Palestinians fled for their lives if they weren't massacred first. I do not advise violence, but I am really surprised there has not been more of it. Let's have justice.
BEVERLY BAILEY, RICHFIELD
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What part of the word "No!" doesn't the media understand?
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who politely says "thank you for what you're saying" to those who urge him to run for president, in the same breath tells those people, the media and anyone else who'll listen to go to Politico.com and watch a two-minute compendium of all the different ways he has said "I am not running for president this year."
Even his own brother says he's not running. "If he's lying to me, I'd be the most shocked person in the world," the brother said.
It's late in the political season. Christie obviously doesn't want to end up like former Sen. Fred Thompson, the "savior" of the 2008 Republican race -- until about a week after he finally announced and promptly fizzled out.
Fred who? Chris who?
KEVIN DRISCOLL, ST. PAUL
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If President Obama had the courage, he would challenge Herman Cain to a debate, now, with the lone topic being the economy.
The president would be saying, in effect, "Mr. Cain, you aren't crazy, and you have some good ideas. Let's you and I frame the discussion, and try to leave politics out of it."
Cain would be elevated to a first-tier candidate, which is good for the country. Both gentlemen can use their brains and education to develop arguments and find common ground. Wouldn't this be something to watch?
Both candidates speaking for an hour, high-browed and on the high road, with the littler candidates gnashing their teeth on the sidelines? It would be something to see. Mr. President?
JESSE LYKKEN, MINNEAPOLIS
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Learning about the latest terror threat, I couldn't help noticing the strategy our enemies use ("Massachusetts man accused in plot to strike Pentagon," Sept. 29).
They are turning our own technology against us. Sound familiar? J
ust as Rezwan Ferdaus used U.S. model drones to plot an attack on the Pentagon and the Capitol, Osama bin Laden used U.S. weapons to launch a worldwide movement against America. Why do we seem to be the source of our oppositions' success?
ALLISON HURST, EDEN PRAIRIE
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By naming wild bears, habituating them to human presence and "worrying" about them publicly as hunting season approaches, Lynn Rogers attempts to demonize hunting and hunters ("Bear shot by hunter, researcher says," Sept. 28).
It's clear his goals go way beyond the stated mission of the North American Bear Center.
STEVE PENNAZ, INDEPENDENCE