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Housing discussion seeks to spark ideas for faith community

Olmsted County housing director will join In The City For Good in discussion about needs and potential ways to help.

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In the city for good

A grassroots group of housing advocates and Olmsted County housing officials are hoping to help spark ideas in the local faith community.

“Maybe once every couple months we get a call from a church,” Olmsted County Housing Director Dave Dunn said of congregations looking to help address local housing needs.

Rather than having one-on-one conversations, Dunn, along with members of In The City For Good, are asking religious leaders, church members and others to join an online dialogue at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

“We want people to go back to their congregations and start to think about this and come back together to see if we can start to build some action,” said Helen Laack, who has been leading the In The City For Good housing action team.

A recent update to the Olmsted County housing needs assessment identified the potential need for more than 18,000 new housing units by 2030. The anticipated demand includes a mix of rental and owner-occupied homes for multiple income levels.

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Dunn said he’s hoping to use the online dialogue to outline how members of the faith community could help address the need, from investing in rental properties or building housing to finding a way to support people struggling to stay in their homes or supporting people seeking to purchase homes.

“The idea is to hopefully get some of those conversations started,” he said. Congregations could join forces to tackle a project, he said, or smaller church groups could seek to address specific needs.

“Hopefully people can put their own twists on them,” he added.

Laack said a second meeting is planned in late September or October to review ideas that emerge Thursday.

Information for accessing Thursday’s dialogue is expected to be posted on the In The City For Good facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/inthecityforgoodrochestermn .

Randy Petersen joined the Post Bulletin in 2014 and became the local government reporter in 2017. An Elkton native, he's worked for a variety of Midwest papers as reporter, photographer and editor since graduating from Winona State University in 1996. Readers can reach Randy at 507-285-7709 or rpetersen@postbulletin.com.
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