Homeless families, disabled adults could get more help

WashCo_logoCounty also seeks DEED redevelopment grant for site

Homeless families and adults with intellectual disabilities in Washington County could get more help from separate county programs, the Board of Commissioners learned Tuesday.

In an unrelated issue, commissioners learned the county is eligible for a $250,000 state Department of Economic Development grant to help redevelop the site of the vacant Piccadilly Restaurant at Minnesota 244 and CSAH 12 in Willernie and Mahtomedi into senior housing.

Commissioners approved a resolution allowing the Community Services Department to apply for Minnesota Housing Family Homelessness Prevention and Assistance Program funds. CSD Associate Planner Diane Elias said the funds would be used to help families facing homelessness due to foreclosure, unemployment or short-term disability.

Elias said $137,000 would go to Solid Ground for a rapid rehousing program for 47 households. She said clients in this program usually transition to more permanent housing in about nine months.

Another $84,260 would go to the Salvation Army office at Woodbury Lutheran Church to help 150 families with rent assistance and utility payments, Elias said.
Nearly $62,000 would go to Canvas Health to help 160 youths with housing stability plans, a host family program for homeless youths and support and partnership with the Salvation Army, Elias said.

The remaining $28,300 would go to the county for administrative costs, she said.
Elias acknowledged that homelessness prevention assistance funding has not increased to meet the county’s needs.

“The funding level has stayed the same at the state level. We feel we should be awarded more funds based on the poverty level in the county,” she said.

CSD Supervisor Lisa Glasspoole then outlined a needs determination for a new adult day training and habitation program site in the county.

This program provides intellectually disabled adults 21 years old and older with a six-hour day of work or activities that involve either skills training or therapy, Glasspoole said. About 450 adults are served, she added.

The county determines program needs, contracts with vendors, sets payment rates and monitors outcomes, she said.

The program is funded by medical assistance funds and through the county levy, Glasspoole said. This year, $2.02 million comes from the county levy and nearly $5.3 million from medical assistance waivers.

Program providers include ESR, Phoenix Alternatives and Opportunity Services, according to Glasspoole. Another provider, Midwest Special Services, seeks a Woodbury or Oakdale site, she added.

“This program continues to grow. People wanted more vendors, more agencies to choose from,” Glasspoole said.

She added that CSD will provide a program update to the board at a later date.
Regarding the DEED grant, County Engineer Wayne Sandberg said the county’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority applied for the funds in February as part of the redevelopment of the Piccadilly site for senior housing.

Sandberg said the DEED money would be used to to fix sidewalks and other site improvements.

“If we are successful in winning an award, and we think we will be, we will come back with a plan,” he said.

Details of the improvements would come from the HRA, cities of Willernie and Mahtomedi and project developers.

“If we could get this accomplished, it will be great for Willernie, Mahtomedi and the county,” said Commissioner Ted Bearth.