Olmsted County and city of Rochester join federal homelessness initiative

Friday, Olmsted county and the city of Rochester joined a nationwide effort to address homelessness.
Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 5:52 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Approximately 600,000 Americans are currently experiencing homelessness. Friday, Olmsted county and the city of Rochester joined a nationwide effort to address this crisis.

“Until everyone has a safe place to rest their head at night, we must continue to move forward on this issue,” Housing & Urban Development regional administrator Diane M. Shelley said.

The homelessness issue has turned into a homelessness crisis within the past few years, and the federal government wants to work with communities to address the crisis through providing federal dollars to new housing options.

“We are looking at rehousing 100,000 homeless people and adding at least 20,000 new units of housing by December 2022,” Shelley said.

“We know that housing solves homelessness, however in order for our clients to be successful, we need to watch the housing with mental health services, substance abuse services and other assistance as needed,” Olmsted County board of commissioners chair Mark Thein said.

Back in 2019, Rochester and Olmsted County struggled to decide which entity should address the homelessness crisis.

“Since my very first time as mayor, and I walked through our skyways and noticed that we had more people experiencing homelessness than I was aware of,” Rochester Mayor Kim Norton said.

However, the city and county are now working together.

“The city and county are leading beginning discussions with partners to consider long-term solutions to provide transitional and supportive housing to persons experiencing homelessness,” Mayor Norton said.

The city and county also depend on its community partners for this initiative including catholic charities, salvation army, the landing and Dorthy Day house to name a few.

“Invested partners, commitment, innovative solutions, and we are grateful that community partnerships are providing this,” Mayor Norton said.

Olmsted County officials also said they are adding 120 housing units for low income families as well as working on rehousing 100 households who were previously experiencing homelessness.

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