Landing MN asks for more time at Silver Lake Fire Hall
Without this space, there won’t be enough resources to help the homeless, said co-founder Dan Fifield.
“We’re going to look at a pre-pandemic environment again. That’s not what we want to see happen,” Dan said. “I’m going to go ahead and say that’s not what the companies want to see happen, and I don’t think that’s what the city government would want to see happen.”
Landing MN is asking council to extend the contract from August to April. By then, the organization expects to have a permanent center ready.
The organization offers to use its own money to run the station for factors such as staff, food, and programming until spring, while the city provides building use, utilities, general building maintenance and insurance.
The council did not vote on Monday evening. The item was not on the agenda, but members and supporters of The Landing MN spoke out during the open comment period and shared the continued need, particularly due to COVID-19.
“The safety and well-being of every member of our community must be our priority on a daily basis, not just during a pandemic. We cannot tell these members of our community that they only matter when our well-being is affected by theirs, ”Holly Fifield, co-founder, mentioned.
Landing MN says it has received 11,000 visits from at least 550 people so far since February 1 and around 65 people seek service on average every day. The organization also continues to collaborate with other groups to provide services.
Some council members raised concerns, including the city’s role versus the county’s role in tackling homelessness, and whether this is necessary due to the presence of the Salvation Army in Rochester.
But other council members have expressed support for the threat of COVID-19 and the expected wave of evictions that could follow, as well as the contributions The Landing MN continues to make.
The city council is expected to discuss options regarding the fate of the day center, including a possible extension of the contract, at its August 2 meeting.