The Initiative Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to Homeless Helping Homeless to remodel Lincoln Center.
Homeless Helping Homeless is one of 15 nonprofits receiving grants totaling more than $1 million through the Initiative Foundation’s Transformative Funding for Nonprofits program with funding from the Otto Bremer Trust. Funding from the Otto Bremer Trust is $2 million, and the remaining amount will be used for microenterprise grants or other needs.
The Transformative Funding Program for Nonprofits is intended to help nonprofits recover from the pandemic, said Zach Tabatt, nonprofit development program manager for the Initiative Foundation.
“We decided to try to provide an opportunity for non-profit organizations to give us their ideas on what would help them the most to come out of the pandemic. And usually kind of up their game or improve their way of doing business in a way that they thought would be most appropriate for them going forward,” Tabatt said.
25 nonprofits were selected in March to work with consultants to develop their final proposals due in May, Tabatt said.
Homeless Helping Homeless will use the grant for materials needed for the lockable sleeping pods, similar to the tiny indoor homes of Avivo Village in Minneapolis, the nonprofit expanding into the building where Lincoln Center currently sits.
“We’re going to build 23 of these units in the middle section – that’s what we needed the grant money for, to build these little private rooms, where people can stay. They can keep their belongings there, they can charge their phones there. There will be electricity in there and each of them will have a sprinkler head in each particular unit. So they will all be fireproof,” said Homeless Helping Homeless Executive Director Harry Fleegel.
The St. Cloud Zoning Appeal Board approved a conditional use permit amendment in May to increase occupancy at Lincoln Center, with changes to the staff-to-resident ratio.
After:Increased Lincoln Center occupancy with approved staffing requirements
The amendment would increase the shelter’s maximum overnight occupancy from 19 residents to 25, with a ratio of two residents per staff member, such as visitors or volunteers, Fleegel told the St. Cloud Times earlier. This year. The ratio would put the number of employees at 13, but could go as high as 21. The original proposal called for allowing 29 residents and 21 employees at the center, which is off Lincoln Avenue SE.
Fleegel plans to appeal the condition to the city council. Although Fleegel said he found the other conditions set by the council to be practical, the resident-to-staff ratio would not be achievable.
“They put a condition on that that we have one staff member for every two residents. Well, it’s extremely heavy, very expensive. It would require us to have 52 staff and we would absolutely have more staff than a maximum security prison has to deal with the homeless,” Fleegel said.
Once the grant money is received, Fleegel expects the nonprofit to begin ordering materials and obtaining permits in July and August. He hopes to have volunteers to help with construction, city inspections and other work done in September and October, with everything up and running by November, Fleegel said.
“And we really appreciate any effort that people can put in of time and volunteering or financial contributions, whatever works for them, so that people can have a decent and dignified place to live,” Fleegel said.