Bethesda Hospital site update: October 16, 2020

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Thank you for subscribing to this e-newsletter about proposed plans for Ramsey County to lease the Bethesda Hospital site to help those experiencing homelessness. We will regularly share updates on our website ( and through this e-newsletter.

About the Bethesda Hospital site

Bethesda Hospital

M Fairview Health recently announced broad organizational changes to its operations, including the closure of Bethesda Hospital. They approached Ramsey County in mid-September with the possibility of leasing parts of the building for an emergency shelter. Ramsey County, the City of Saint Paul and other partners have been working over the past several months to identify at least 100 additional beds for those experiencing homelessness by winter.

Bethesda has served the community by providing medical services for decades and is uniquely fashioned to serve a community in need of housing. This site would require minimal preparation to offer safe and dignified shelter, including 100 beds, food and services 24 hours a day, seven days a week for those referred to the site through outreach teams made up of community partners and law enforcement. The proposed lease, which would last through spring of 2022, helps get people indoors during the next two winters.

Learn more about Ramsey County's efforts to shelter those experiencing homelessness during COVID-19.

Upcoming meetings

Ramsey County Board meeting: Oct. 20 at 9 a.m.

The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners is meeting on Oct. 20 at 9 a.m. to discuss a proposed lease agreement with M Health Fairview for the Bethesda Hospital site. 

Watch the meeting.

Additional community engagement

Since 2019, a county-city staff workgroup has regularly met to develop and act on solutions that address unsheltered homelessness. The current COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent economic downturn has only further exacerbated the present housing crisis. With more people pushed into housing instability and/or homelessness, the need for additional action on this issue, even temporarily, is urgent. Winter is here, and we need to make decisions quickly so that we can assist those who are unsheltered. 

We want to hear from the community and are planning additional community outreach and engagement opportunities in the near future. If the lease is approved, outreach would continue as the site preparation work is completed.

We want to hear from you

We encourage you to reach out to us with your feedback and questions. For comments regarding the shelter space, please email Ramsey County. For comments regarding the closure of Bethesda Hospital, please email M Fairview Health.

Additional resources

For more information about the Bethesda Hospital site and Ramsey County’s commitment to ending homelessness, visit The following past meetings are also available for viewing:

  • Oct. 6, 2020: First Board of Commissioners meeting to discuss site proposal. Watch the video (begins at 25:25)
  • Oct. 8, 2020: Virtual town hall with Commissioners MatasCastillo and Ortega. Watch the video (passcode: VMr7i8M=)
  • Oct. 13, 2020: Second Board of Commissioners meeting to discuss site proposal. Watch the video (begins at 10:27)