Housing stability update: December 4, 2020

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Housing Stability Update

Thank you for subscribing to this e-newsletter for updates on Ramsey County’s efforts to address housing stability to support those experiencing homelessness. We will regularly share timely updates on our website (ramseycounty.us/housingstability) and through this e-newsletter.

No one should sleep outside in Ramsey County this winter

For the past year, Ramsey County and its partners have prioritized providing temporary shelter solutions for people experiencing homelessness. Since the start of the pandemic, the county has added a total of 700 new shelter beds to its service capacity.

$2.4 million in state funding was recently awarded to Ramsey County, along with an additional $407,000 to the City of Saint Paul. Both partners will use the funding to continue critical hotel and emergency shelter programming that supports hundreds of people who experience homelessness each night. Combined with the recent increase in available beds through the Bethesda Hospital and Luther Seminary sites, the county is confident that there are enough resources for everyone in the community to access safe shelter this winter. Watch this KSTP-TV story to learn more.

Because of this recent milestone, Ramsey County is now able to focus its full resources on longer-term solutions to housing stability so that everyone can have a sustainable path out of homelessness.

Ramsey County announces RFP for Bethesda Hospital site shelter services

Beginning mid-December through spring 2022, the Bethesda Hospital site will transform into an emergency shelter space for those experiencing homelessness. The facility will provide up to 100 private beds, separate respite care and 24/7 services through referrals from community outreach teams. These resources will be provided with conscientious COVID-19 precautions and supported by around-the-clock security via Ramsey County and M Health Fairview through a security services agreement.

The Bethesda Hospital site is now formally requesting proposals to contract with local housing, mental health and chemical dependency service providers to operate facility support services. Responses are due on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at 2 p.m. Learn more about the request for proposals here.

Two new emergency overnight shelters available as part of COVID-19 response

As the City of Saint Paul and Ramsey County continue to prepare additional shelter space for people experiencing homelessness, the city has made available two Saint Paul Parks & Recreation facilities as temporary emergency overnight shelters to aid in COVID-19 mitigation.

Nearly 100 total cots between the Harriet Island Pavilion and the Duluth and Case Recreation Center are now available as COVID-19 response sites for unsheltered adults with operating hours of 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. People will be referred through an established referral process with Catholic Charities acting as the primary referral source.

These COVID-19 temporary overnight shelters will have trained staff managing the facilities and security available overnight. The city is also working to establish a transportation plan to move individuals safely between referring providers and the operating locations. This resource will be available through the end of December 2020, after the Bethesda Hospital site has opened.

Learn more about the new temporary overnight shelters here.

Freedom House day shelter on West 7th St. to open soon

An emergency ordinance and lease agreement have been approved for the use of the Freedom House property in Saint Paul’s West 7th St. neighborhood as a day shelter. With the help of $400,000 in funding provided by the county, the site is currently undergoing preparation to open in mid-December, and will remain operational through spring 2022. Unsheltered individuals will use the space to escape weather conditions, access bathrooms and connect one-on-one with essential social services on site.

Learn more here.

Ramsey County and its partners have leveraged CARES funding to provide emergency shelter, temporary housing in hotels and respite care facilities for those experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more here.