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Plan Would Turn Gage Elementary into Homeless Shelter

Created: 04/30/2014 6:25 PM KAALtv.com
By: Brianna Long

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- People who live by Gage Elementary School in Rochester are going to have the chance to learn more about changes to their neighborhood.

A public meeting was held Tuesday evening about Gage East; which, up until recently, was the home of the Boys and Girls Club.

"We've seen houses come up in the cul-de-sac, plus the whole neighborhood behind us and the apartments behind us. So its grown tremendously in the last 20 years," said neighbor Jim Hines. He's part of the neighborhood watch group in the area.

"We have a collective email list. So anything that comes up in the neighborhood, we use that to communicate with each other," said Hines.

One thing Jim and his neighbors have been talking about lately is the proposed plans for Gage East.

"Our goal is to build a 55-unit apartment building that will have 25 units for youth ages 16-21 and 30 units for families with children," said Nancy Cashman.

She's with Center City Housing. That's a Duluth-based non-profit that provides housing to low-income, and homeless families and youth. It's something Rochester Schools' Superintendent Michael Munoz says, is needed.

"This is an opportunity for them to get some permanent housing. We're really excited about that opportunity we think it's a good location, if you can build something like this in a resident area it feels like a home to them," said Munoz.

There are around 300 homeless youth in Rochester; a problem some say this proposed complex could help solve.

"In the needs study we saw that there were 200-300 homeless families a year in Rochester. The need is definitely here," said Cashman.

Jim Hines agrees there's a need, but just wants to know more before the face of his neighborhood changes once again.

"There's a need. There's no question there's a need for these types of people that are down and out and stuff. It's just, is this the right place to put it, I don't know," said Hines.

Photo: ABC 6 News