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Growing demand poses problem for Twin Cities homeless shelters

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On one of the coldest Christmases in more than 15 years, metro shelters are trying to figure out a way to keep the homeless warm amidst a growing need and limited space.

KSTP says for the third year, the Dorothy Day Center is using a converted office space as overflow for people that need a place to sleep during the coldest months of the year.

The center says the much-needed overflow site isn't up to code and would cost half a million dollars to renovate.

Gerry Lauer, program director at Dorothy Day Center, tells KSTP that the shelter doesn't want to risk turning people away, but updating the space is not a good long-term solution to the heightened demand.

In Hennepin County, the homeless rate is at a six-year high. Minneapolis shelter People Serving People is bursting at the seams, setting up sleeping quarters in overcrowded libraries and conference rooms.

The most recent 2009 Wilder research study on homelessness counted 9,654 homeless people in Minnesota, nearly half were children and young adults. Results from a 2012 study will be available next year.

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