Olmsted County to purchase Old Town Hall building and turn it into homeless shelter

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(ABC 6 News) – Residences at Old Town Hall could be Rochester’s newest homeless shelter by 2025.

But, an application process has to go through first and if it is accepted by the state, the Warming Center could be closing as the Old Town Hall reopens for the homeless.

A deal is done between property manager Jeff Allman and Olmsted County to purchase the Old Town Hall from him.

Allman is giving this center back to the community, as the homeless issue has grown in the city.

“The more I learn about poverty, substance abuse, mental illness, homelessness, the more confounded the issues become. Existing facilities are inadequate. Olmsted County Housing Redevelopment Authority is the best successor I can imagine for continuing the legacies to responsibly help those in need,” Allman said.

Olmsted County housing director David Dunn is grateful for the county coming into ownership of this building, as it is seen as a future flagship for addressing homeless needs in the county and an opportunity to retire another homeless shelter which is becoming dated.

“Thank you for your partnership, Catholic Charities of southern Minnesota, the operator of the Rochester Community Warming Center, which will close when the new housing development center opens up,” Dunn said.

Old Town Hall still houses Luther College students in the study away nursing program. They will not be impacted this school year or the next by these changes at the building. Allman says the lease with Luther College runs through the spring of 2025 and he and Olmsted County will honor the lease agreement to the end.

Some people in the Eastside Neighborhood have had some concerns about the location of the shelter, but they will meet with county officials Thursday to discuss the future impacts of the neighborhood.

They provided a statement to ABC 6 News saying, “In keeping with our mission, the ENA board is also anticipating hearing from eastside residents about how those plans affect their health, safety, and wellbeing. We’ll do our due diligence to address their concerns and share residents’ thoughts with city and county representatives as the process unfolds.”

Olmsted County has until September 21 to send their application into the state. If it is accepted for grant funding, they expect the money to come through at the beginning of 2024 and construction to revamp the Old Town Hall into a homeless shelter to begin in fall of 2024.