Ramsey County closes Bethesda Shelter, approves $21.6 million for affordable housing – Twin Cities
Ramsey County Council on Tuesday approved $21.6 million in funding to build or renovate more than 18 affordable housing estates, even as officials reported that funds for temporary emergency shelters organized at the start of the pandemic are running out.
The county has already gutted a temporary shelter erected at the former Bethesda Hospital outside of downtown St. Paul, which will be returned to owner Fairview Health Services by the end of the month. Fairview officials scoured the site for a possible mental health facility.
Residents of Bethesda Shelter have transferred to Union Gospel Mission and other nonprofit partners, or found new housing situations on their own.
“We’re getting other people to step up their resources,” Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough said at Tuesday’s board meeting.
COUNTY OFFICIALS STILL HOPE FOR HELP FROM THE LEGISLATURE
Hotel spaces for homeless families, leased by the county with federal relief dollars during the height of COVID, also ran their course. Freedom House, a satellite site of Listening House in St. Paul, closed on May 8. The deadline to close or find new funds to continue the pandemic-era shelters in downtown Mary Hall and Stub Hall at Luther Seminary is June 22. .
County officials remain hopeful that state lawmakers will tap into a projected state budget surplus to expand these spaces and other shelters, which they say house homeless people from across the state.
A bipartisan $8 billion budget deal unveiled this week focuses heavily on tax cuts, infrastructure and school funding, as well as public safety and social services, but nothing in the Senate proposal enshrines specifically funds to Ramsey County Emergency Shelters. Lawmakers from both parties are still working out the details in committee meetings, and there’s been some recognition in Republican and out-of-state corners that the county’s efforts to house the homeless have benefits to the statewide.
“We have seen an increase in the number of unsheltered people in our community,” said county executive Ryan O’Connor.
O’Connor later added, “This is a statewide import issue. It’s not unique to Ramsey County. … For our delegation, looking beyond their jurisdictional boundaries was important.
$21.6 M TO IMPROVE AFFORDABLE HOUSING
To spur 18 new and existing affordable housing developments, the county council on Tuesday approved $21.6 million in funding from the U.S. federal bailout law, general obligation bonds and the new city tax. County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. Overall, the county received funding applications for 36 eligible projects.
Some of these projects include:
- Mary Hall: Catholic Charities’ six-story single-occupancy building in downtown St. Paul would be converted by nonprofit housing developer AEON into 88 affordable housing units. This would include 46 new units aimed at very low-income residents or those earning no more than 30% of the region’s median income. The remaining units would be for residents earning no more than 50% of the region’s median income. A housing support provider would provide residents with support services such as counselling. Construction is expected to begin next year.
- Gladstone Village: JB Vang Partners has proposed a 65-unit building in Maplewood that would include 20 affordable housing units for residents earning no more than 30% of the area’s median income. The remaining units would be priced for those earning no more than 50-60% of the region’s median income. Construction could start in 2023 or 2024.
- Kimball Court: An existing 76-unit supportive housing community owned by Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative in the St. Paul’s Hamline-Midway neighborhood would be renovated and expanded, adding 22 affordable housing units for residents earning no more than 30% of the median income of the region.
- Stryker Senior Housing: Located on the west side of St. Paul, a 57-unit project proposed by NEDA would include 43 limited-income housing units for residents earning no more than 30% of the area’s median income.
- Treehouse: Trellis has proposed 36 new affordable housing units in the St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood. The development would include 27 limited-income units for those earning no more than 30% of the region’s median income.
- Dunedin Homes: The St. Paul Public Housing Authority has proposed a four-unit expansion of Dunedin Homes, located in the west side of the city. The units would be for residents earning no more than 30% of the region’s median income. Construction would begin next year.
- Gallery Building: Reuter Walton proposed to redevelop a commercial office building in downtown St. Paul into affordable housing. A total of eight units would be for renters earning no more than 30% of the region’s median income, and the rest would be limited to renters earning no more than 50% of the region’s median income. Construction could start in 2023 or 2024.
- Ashland Apartments: RS Eden proposed to convert a vacant building in the St. Paul’s Summit-University neighborhood into 17 efficient apartment units, catering to tenants earning no more than 30% of the area’s median income. RS Eden would provide support services.
- McDonough Homes: The St. Paul Public Housing Authority plans to expand McDonough Homes in the north end of the city by seven units, aimed at renters earning no more than 30% of the region’s median income. Ramsey County is the sole source of capital funding. Construction could start next year.
- St. Paul Residence: An existing 120-unit affordable housing project operated by Catholic charities in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood is reportedly undergoing major rehabilitation, with work likely to begin this year or next. The building belongs to the city of Saint-Paul.
- The Provinces: An existing 118-unit affordable housing building owned and operated by AEON in Little Canada is reportedly undergoing a major rehabilitation, with work likely to begin this year or next.
- Canalbrook Townhouses: The Rondo Community Land Trust is planning six new owner-occupied townhouses in Shoreview. All units would be for renters earning no more than 80% of the region’s median income.
- Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity: The nonprofit homebuilder plans to acquire and renovate single-family homes in White Bear Township, White Bear Lake, Maplewood and St. Paul. The homes would be sold to low to middle income buyers.
- Twin Lake: Reuter Walton is planning a new development of 60 affordable housing units in Little Canada. Six units would be for renters earning no more than 30% of the region’s median income, and the rest would be affordable for residents earning no more than 60% of the region’s median income. Construction would begin this year.
- 1375 Frost: Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative offered 40 supportive housing units at 1375 Frost Ave. Half of the units would be for residents earning no more than 30% of the area’s median income and the other half would be for residents earning no more than 50% of the area’s median income. . Construction could start as early as 2024.
- Seal and Edgerton Hi-Rises: Structural upgrades are planned to an existing 144-unit public housing tower in the St. Paul’s St. Anthony Park neighborhood and an existing 221-unit public housing tower in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood.
- The county will use federal Community Development Block Grant funds to preserve 75 affordable housing units in AEON’s Cobblestone Court development in Maplewood and 139 units in AEON’s Golden Sun developments in Maplewood and Roseville.