Center Street building proposed as next homeless shelter in Rochester

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(ABC 6 News) – The Old Towne Hall has seen a lot of changes through the years, and now, property owner Jeff Allman wants to use it as his way to give back to the community.

For the last several years, it has housed students from Luther College’s study away nursing program and provided affordable housing to those in need across Rochester; but that could change. Allman wants to use the building to help people experiencing homelessness

Homeless individuals are seeking more services from both day and night shelters in the city, Allman believes converting his building will provide another solution.

“The homeless situation, it’s become unacceptable where we are today. I want to provide Rochester a long-term solution, this is a good place that is cost effective for that,” Allman said.

Allman, with the help of Olmsted County and the City of Rochester, will apply for a portion of a $98 million emergency services grant through the state. If accepted, the grant money will turn the 66 unit building into a homeless shelter.

The Salvation Army has seen it’s daily service numbers grow substantially over the summer, and program director Steve Friederich believes another shelter will help.

“We would welcome any additional help in the community. If another shelter would open up it would help alleviate a lot of the numbers we’re seeing within the community,” Friederich said.

While the building still has to go through that application process, the 34 Luther college students who live there are still waiting to hear how this could impact their housing long-term.

“It’s not something I’ve heard much about. I was telling you that I’ve only seen it on the door that we use to enter and exit the building. I hope they get in touch with us soon, me and all of my classmates,” Madelon Rathe, a junior Luther college nursing student

No matter what happens, Allman says the students would not be impacted this school year.
A tenants meeting was held Monday night.

Tuesday, Olmsted County and the City of Rochester are holding an event for the entire community, and will bring more information about this potential shelter.