This story was originally published on Thursday, Feb. 18

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A first-of-its-kind place to find shelter is nearly ready to open in downtown Minneapolis.

Avivo Village consists of 100 individual, climate-controlled and secure pods, which will provide Minnesotans experiencing homelessness real solutions to permanent housing.

Emily Bastian, vice president of Avivo, walks through the rows of multi-colored homes lining the inside of a warehouse on Washington Avenue in the North Loop.

“This is very exciting. It’s a new model, people have not done this before,” Bastian said. “Everyone deserves housing irregardless of who they are or choices that they make.”

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This village is for anyone in the metro experiencing homelessness over the age of 18. Each pod is the exact same size, and they will come furnished with a bed and a chair, with place to hang items, along with a shelf. Each pod will also have a window, but they’ll come with their own drapes for privacy. Vents go into every pod, creating air flow when the doors are closed, and there are communal showers and bathrooms. The pods are also secured with a key lock and code.

“Every door associates with a separate individual room,” Bastian said. “Each pod is the exact same size. They’ll come furnished with a bed and a chair in each in each room, and each pod has a window, but they’ll come with their own drapes for privacy.”

(credit: CBS)

Justin LaBeux is part of Avivo’s street outreach team, helping find people to stay at Avivo Village for as long as they need.

“Just see a lot of folks sleeping in tents, just building fires to stay warm, which can sometimes be a safety issue,” LaBeux said.

That feeling of long-term safety and security, not just overnight, is what makes this shelter unique.

“A lot of folks lose some of their stuff, so they’re constantly in a struggle to either replace a tent or get a new sleeping bag,” LaBeux said.

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The end goal is to find people permanent housing, and the team here is providing the resources to get there.

“They’ll be connected with a housing case manager and a mental health professional,” he said. “We also will have community health workers and therapists,” Bastian said.

Avivo Village is planning to open on or near March 8. The project is funded with $2 million in CARES Act money, but is relying on public donations as well. Click here for information on how to donate.

Those interested in staying at Avivo Village can email the team at avivovillage@avivomn.org.

Marielle Mohs