Bethesda Hospital Site update: October 23, 2020

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Bethesda Hospital Site Update

Thank you for subscribing to this e-newsletter for updates on the Bethesda Hospital site that will support those experiencing homelessness. We will regularly share timely updates on our website ( and through this e-newsletter.

Join us for upcoming virtual town halls

Bethesda Hospital

We'll be hosting two virtual town halls to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on homelessness and housing, the recent leasing of the Bethesda Hospital site as a new shelter facility, and future county housing plans. Join via Zoom or phone.

  • Thursday, Oct. 29, 5-6:30 p.m. (details)
  • Monday, Nov. 9, 5-6:30 p.m. (details)

The county will continue to engage the surrounding community and neighbors as plans for the site progress and as services come online in the weeks and months ahead. We encourage you to reach out to us with your immediate feedback and questions. Please email us.

Commissioners approve lease agreement

The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously this week to move forward with a $1.2 million lease agreement with M Health Fairview to utilize Bethesda Hospital in Saint Paul as an emergency shelter for those experiencing homelessness. The lease will be in effect from Dec. 1, 2020, through May 31, 2022.

Ramsey County is in discussions with M Health Fairview to locate a clinic that provides mental health support and related services onsite, as well as locating a COVID-19 testing facility at the site during the winter.

Providing around-the-clock security

To enhance the safety of shelter residents and the surrounding community, Ramsey County and M Health Fairview will provide around-the-clock security services at the building's entrances, perimeter and grounds through a security services agreement. Staff will be trained to provide trauma-informed services and de-escalation tactics.

The county is exploring an ongoing partnership with the Saint Paul Police Department to provide support as needed, establishing a 24/7 call-in line, and partnering with outreach staff to connect people already in the neighborhood to the facility and related services. 

Our housing stability work continues

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unique challenges for our shelter spaces, removing some existing capacity to apply safe social distancing guidelines and increasing the number of people experiencing homelessness in our community. There are hundreds of people sleeping outdoors in Saint Paul on any given night. Because of this, Ramsey County and its partners continue to work to expand shelter space, and we will be doing everything we can to address the immediate need and stabilize the community as the winter turns cold and COVID-19 continues. This Bethesda Hospital site is one part of that broader strategy to get everyone off the street and safely inside.