Improving Accessibility and Capacity at our Emergency Shelter Through a Major Renovation

Outside of Our Saviour's Housing Emergency Shelter

Later this year, Our Saviour’s Community Services will begin renovating our Emergency Shelter building, including making important accessibility and safety upgrades, and adding a second story above the existing space. These enhancements, which will continue into 2025, will greatly increase the accessibility of the shelter and allow us to serve more people while maintaining the high quality of service our shelter provides.  

We are able to renovate and expand our shelter through a significant funding award from the State of Minnesota’s Office of Economic Opportunity. This award is a part of 98 million dollars in one-time public investments to improve existing shelters and build new shelter spaces statewide, allocated during the 2023 legislative session after years of advocacy. Support also came from the members of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, who voted as a congregation to transfer ownership of the shelter building to OSCS, playing a critical role in our ability to submit a strong application for these competitive funds. 

Renovations at the shelter are tentatively planned to begin late in 2024 and will last for approximately 6 months. Our shelter operations will temporarily move to another location during this period, resulting in short-term changes to routines for guests, volunteers, and staff. We will do our best to minimize disruptions for everyone as we set the shelter space up for a strong future. 

This project will enhance the accessibility, safety, and inclusion of our existing shelter spaces through initiatives like modifying the building’s entryway, adding single-stall restrooms with showers, and refurbishing our elevator. The project will also create space for approximately 17 more guests to stay at the 24/7 shelter at any given time. The addition will bring us back near our pre-pandemic capacity, and will carry forward what we learned works best for our participants during the pandemic, such as providing individual sleeping spaces for all guests.  

Throughout the months ahead, we will need additional community support as we transition to operating a physically larger shelter and supporting additional guests. Collectively, we will need to secure funds to support additional staff costs and increased expenses associated with serving more community members. We will also need to build support to serve more meals at the shelter each day. There may also be opportunities to provide extra volunteer support during the move to and from the temporary shelter site. Support from community members like you will allow us to continue to provide high quality services to those at our shelter, supporting guests in achieving their goals of long-term well-being and stable housing. Please stay tuned via our email newsletter and social media for ways that you can support this important effort.