Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On any given night in Minneapolis, between 300 and 400 people have no place to sleep. The tough economy has the city’s homeless population soaring — making the need for housing crucial. Now, Minneapolis has a new facility that will take more than 300 people off the streets.
It’s called Higher Ground and it’s a way for people to move up and out of the cycle of homelessness.
Minneapolis has an altruistic goal to be the first city in the U.S. to end homelessness. In the next 10 years, officials hope places like Higher Ground create pathways for people to put an end to their time of living on the streets.
The seven floor, 74,000 square foot home for homeless men is much different from its predecessor.
Catholic Charities used 1010 Currie as a temporary shelter for 15 years. The old dingy, crowded building has now been replaced with a building with more than 294 windows.
“Where there is light, you tend to get hopeful about your future,” said Tim Marx, CEO of Catholic Charities.
Each floor is a stepping stone to independent living. The first Floor is the emergency shelter with 171 free beds, first come, first serve. The second floor has 80 pay for stay beds. Seven dollars a night gets you sheets, blankets, storage locker and a sober environment.
Floors three, four, five and six have single rooms for men who have the longest histories of homelessness.
“This is one of our 74 sleeping rooms, they are fully furnished rooms,” said John Petroskas, tenant coordinator.
On these floors, there are showers, washer and dryers, a kitchen and a community room.
“If Minneapolis is going to take a shot at ending homelessness, which is one of our plans for the first city to end street homelessness, we need great facilities like this one,” said Mark Stenglein, CEO of Minneapolis Downtown Council.
Stenglein says it’s important to create a place where dignity is restored and hope renewed.
Catholic Charities hopes higher ground provides the light needed to cast out the shadows of homelessness.
The top floor has 11 affordable efficiency apartments, each with its own kitchen and bathroom. It’s the only floor where women are eligible for housing.
The building does more than just provide shelter. There is also access to housing assistance, medical care including mental health care.
Already, the building is 92 percent occupied.