ROCHESTER, Minn. – The State of Minnesota is sending money to support efforts to shelter the homeless in Rochester during the coronavirus pandemic.
Olmsted County, the City of Rochester, and Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota have been operating a day center and warming shelter at the Mayo Civic Center since March 24. They’ve now been notified that funding to help cover the cost of their efforts is coming from the Minnesota Department of Human Services COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.
“This grant will allow our innovative and unique public private partnership to assist vulnerable residents in Olmsted County,” says Olmsted County Director of the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Dave Dunn. “This funding will be used for our temporary shelter at Mayo Civic Center, hotel rooms where we are sheltering families and high-risk individuals, and on the supplies needed to safely continue these operations during this pandemic.”
The Day Center is operated at Mayo Civic Center from 8 am to 8 pm, with staff from the city and the Rochester Public Library leading the daytime operation. Visitors are given access to food, water, and other essentials. Just days after the Day Center opened, Olmsted County and staff from Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota worked with the city to move the Rochester Community Warming Center (RCWC) into the Mayo Civic Center as well. The RCWC provides a safe place for homeless adults from 8 pm to 8 am.
“Catholic Charities is so privileged to be working with representatives of the City of Rochester and Olmsted County,” says Shanna Harris, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota. “This partnership has provided us with the opportunity to help those who would otherwise go without shelter, which is a basic need. We look forward to continuing our work in this fine community with such generous donors.”
The Day Center and RCWC will continue to operate through at least May 4 in accordance with Governor Walz’ “Stay at Home” order.
“Everyone deserves access to basic necessities, especially during a nationwide health crisis,” says Director of the Rochester Public Library Audrey Betcher.