Rochester will soon have space for 30 homeless residents to call home.

“Our goal here is to provide a lot of housing stability and really to create where people can just be their whole self, come as they are and be as they are,” said Nancy Cashman, executive director of Center City Housing, which built the Mayowood Apartments to provide housing for people struggling with homelessness and behavioral health issues.

During a grand opening Tuesday, state, county and local officials celebrated the collaborative effort with Center City Housing.

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“This housing is something very much needed, and it’s a positive step toward addressing homelessness and mental health needs in our area,” Olmsted County Board Chairwoman Stephanie Podulke said.

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Mayor Kim Norton said the mix of housing and support services provided by the county and Center City staff will be critical for addressing the needs of some of the area’s hardest-to-house residents.

Stephanie Podulke. Olmsted County Commissioner, during a Center City Housing grand opening for a supportive housing project Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, at Mayowood Apartments in Rochester. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
Stephanie Podulke. Olmsted County Commissioner, during a Center City Housing grand opening for a supportive housing project Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, at Mayowood Apartments in Rochester. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

“We have unfortunately witnessed what happens when you put someone who is homeless in a housing situation without the support they need,” she said, adding that it frequently leads to repeated homelessness.

Support services at Mayowood Apartments will include case management, transportation, 24-hour front desk staff, advocacy and referral to community resources.

Cashman said she’s hoping move-in dates will start by November, but more staff is needed before the doors can open.

“As soon as we are fully staffed, we will have people ready to move in right away,” she said. Tenants are being selected and about 10 will likely be moved in on a weekly basis until the apartments are full.

Residents will pay 30 percent of their income as rent, with state funds channeled through the county to cover the remaining monthly rent.

Minnesota Housing also provided $8 million for construction to keep rental costs low, and the Coalition for Rochester Area Housing provided another $200,000 toward the $8.3 million construction project.

Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho said the Mayowood Apartments will help formerly homeless residents “find themselves again” and provide security.

An example of a living area in a tenant apartment during a Center City Housing grand opening for a supportive housing project Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, at Mayowood Apartments in Rochester. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
An example of a living area in a tenant apartment during a Center City Housing grand opening for a supportive housing project Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, at Mayowood Apartments in Rochester. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

“A roof over your head is one thing, but (this is also) a door that you can close, a shower you don’t have to stand in line for and a kitchen where you can eat what you want to eat when you want to eat it,” she told a crowd of nearly 50 gathered outside the facility.

She said the one-bedroom apartmentswill go a long way toward helping tenants reclaim their lives.

“The definition of home is a place you can exhale,” she said.