In a federal lawsuit, Triangle Warehouse, Inc., Benchmark Logistics, LLC, and Cue Properties, LLC allege the City has failed to eliminate “dangerous conditions.”

MINNEAPOLIS — A northeast Minneapolis company says people living in a nearby homeless encampment are posing a safety risk to their employees and causing them to lose money. Now, they’re suing the city and Hennepin County for $50,000 in damages.

Triangle Warehouse, Inc. and Benchmark Logistics, LLC together are a  warehouse and distribution company with facilities located near 37th Avenue Northeast and Technology Drive in Minneapolis. Just behind their facility, between 36th and 37th street, people without homes have set up tents and are residing.

Triangle, along with the owner of their property (Cue Properties, LLC) filed a lawsuit Monday alleging “unlawful taking of private property for public use.” They say neither the City nor County have taken actions to put an end to “dangerous and disruptive conditions.” Instead, they say the defendants have allowed the encampment to thrive, providing portable toilets and wash stations.

In the nine-page lawsuit, the plaintiffs say they are no longer to effectively operate the business because residents are burning garbage, throwing trash onto the roadways, blocking exits, and harassing employees. They say residents have also stolen electricity by plugging extension cords into their business and have thrown trash into their pay-by-weight dumpsters.

A spokesperson for Hennepin County said, “We are perplexed as to why Hennepin County is named in this lawsuit. In fact, we have put tremendous resources into helping those experiencing homeless. Our entire philosophy and approach is based on getting people into shelter and housing.” 

Friday, the city of Minneapolis declined to comment. 

Craig Hawkins, a volunteer who provides food to residents twice a day, says there’s no easy solution.

“Looking at both sides of the fence, you really can’t blame [the plaintiffs],” Hawkins said. “But at the same time, as a business owner, you really have to kind of be a community member.”

Hawkins experienced homelessness when he was younger and says the situation feels personal.

“I know what it’s like to be hungry and being in a bad situation,” he said. “You’re only as good as your opportunities, and there’s certain barriers when it comes to having a telephone, having a shower.”

Craig Hawkins stops by Technology Drive twice a day to bring food to people living there.

Hawkins says he hopes the City provides more resources to people experiencing homelessness.