Overnight Shelters Text Amendment
Overnight shelters provide temporary housing, typically less than 24 hours, to individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness.
The Minneapolis Zoning Code was amended in 1998, to allow overnight shelters only when accessory to a religious institution place of assembly. In 2010, the City adopted the DS Downtown Shelter Overlay District to allow the operation of principal overnight shelters in a portion of the North Loop and Downtown West neighborhoods located west of the Central Business District. These regulations have severely restricted the establishment of new overnight shelters, creating a shortage of shelter beds and a concentration of shelter facilities in a small area of the city. The needs of the city’s homeless population are largely being provided accessory to existing religious institutions, in spaces not originally designed to provide habitable shelter on an ongoing basis.
In 2015, at the direction of the Minneapolis City Council, the City of Minneapolis’ Department of Community Planning & Economic Development (CPED) undertook a zoning study to review the definitions, use categories and services associated with overnight shelters with the goal of amending the zoning code to better align with City policies. Staff conducted extensive peer research on best practices in our region and around the United States, engaged other City departments to explore potential impacts, and conducted three community meetings with community members and shelter operators in mid-2015. Presentations and notes from these meetings may be found below.
The resulting zoning code text amendment, approved by the City Planning Commission, City Council, and Mayor, created two categories of shelters:
- Emergency Shelters: These facilities are smaller facilities with a maximum stay of 30 days. They are a conditional use in all zoning districts except the IL Industrial Living Overlay District. Their maximum occupancy is determined by their zoning district.
- Overnight Shelters: These facilities are larger and have a maximum stay of 24 hours. They are a conditional use in the C2, C4, and all Downtown Districts. Their occupancy is limited to 150 persons or 1 person per 200 square feet of gross floor area (whichever is less), except in the DS Downtown Shelter Overlay District, where their occupancy is limited to 350 persons. In addition, overnight shelters will continue to be allowed as an accessory use to religious institutions in all zoning districts, as they have since 1998.
Both uses are subject to specific development standards, including a spacing requirement of 1,000 feet from existing overnight and emergency shelters, providing an enclosed waiting area, landscaping and screening, and compatibility of new construction with the surrounding neighborhood.
For more information, please see the documents below or contact Shanna Sether.
- October 19, 2015 CPC Staff Report
- Homelessness in Hennepin County: A Statistical Snapshot (pdf)
- September 28, 2015 Community Meeting Presentation (pdf)
- July 27, 2015 Community Meeting Summary (pdf)
- July 27, 2015 Community Meeting Presentation (pdf)
- June 22, 2015 Community Meeting Summary (pdf)
- June 22, 2015 Community Meeting Presentation (pdf)
- Shelter Amendment – Council Action
Last updated Oct 29, 2018