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Groundbreaking held for shelter serving families on Iron Range experiencing homelessness

Representatives of Range Transitional Housing, the St. Louis County Board, Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation, and the City of Virginia held a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new emergency shelter to serve families experiencing homelessness on the Iron Range. Submitted

Currently in northern St. Louis County, there are 98 households in need of emergency shelter; and 28 of those households are families with children. A new fourplex is now being built to address some of that need. Ground was broken Tuesday for Range Transitional Housing's new Family Emergency Housing Project.

Representatives from Range Transitional Housing, St. Louis County, the City of Virginia and Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation celebrated the start of the approximately $2 million project, which is expected to open next spring. The 4,700 square foot fourplex will provide short-term housing for four families at a time with up to 16 beds. It will be located next to Range Transitional Housing's office at 220 5th Street North in Virginia.

Typical length of stay is 1-3 months while Range Transitional Housing and AEOA staff work with the family to secure permanent housing.

"For more than 20 years, we have dreamed about a place like this to serve the needs of families, especially families with children," said Adam Venne, executive director of Range Transitional Housing. "We are extremely grateful to our funders and local partners for all of their assistance to make this project happen."

Employees of Harbor City Masonry work on the foundation of what will be a 4,700 square foot emergency housing fourplex to serve families experiencing homelessness.

St. Louis County provided the majority of funding, including $1.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, plus an additional $250,000 in Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), COVID funds. The IRRRB contributed $400,000 to the City of Virginia for use on this project.

"COVID-19 exposed the need for additional Emergency Housing units in Northern St. Louis County, especially units appropriate for families with children," said Commissioner Keith Nelson. "The St. Louis County Board and our staff have worked hard to be part of the solution to provide safe and reliable emergency housing units dedicated to serving homeless families in our community."

“Building housing capacity in northeastern Minnesota is a high priority for Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation," said Ida Rukavina, Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Commissioner. "The region is in need of all types of housing, from emergency housing, to single family homes and workforce housing. We were honored to provide a community infrastructure grant to help prepare the site and bring in utilities to serve people in need of housing during times of crisis. This project will have a positive impact to Iron Range communities and the people who live here.”

Range Transitional Housing has been providing service to homeless and at-risk families and individuals for nearly 30 years. They currently lease over 90 units from private landlords for permanent supportive and transitional housing for homeless individuals and families.

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