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Mayo gives $300,000 to homeless aid project

Rick Klun mug.jpg
Rick Klun

An apartment complex and community center being built to combat homelessness is getting a big financial boost from a $300,000 grant from Mayo Clinic.

Center City Housing, the nonprofit in charge of the project, announced Friday that Mayo Clinic's Community Contribution Committee awarded a three-year grant for $300,000 to help transform the former Gage East Elementary School into an Empowerment Center.

"We are thrilled to have the incredibly strong support from Mayo for our project," Rick Klun, executive director of Center City, said in a news release. "Mayo's commitment recognizes the need for the Empowerment Center to meet the needs of low income and homeless children in our community."

The former school building stands next to the under-construction Gage East Apartments at 930 40th St. NW. Once completed this summer, the 55-unit housing complex will house 30 homeless families and 25 young homeless individuals ages 16 to 22. Funding for the $11 million complex is already lined up, but recently the attention shifted to the former school building.

The plan is to renovate the ex-school to house agencies that offer services to aid the tenants of the apartment complex. That means groups such as Family Service Rochester, Workforce Development Inc., Olmsted County Community Services, Lutheran Social Services LINK program and more will rent space within the complex, which will be called the Empowerment Center.


A capital campaign, led by Rochester restaurateur Joe Powers and Post-Bulletin Publisher Randy Chapman, has been launched to raise $2.5 million to renovate the building. The renovations will include a new roof, a new HVAC system, upgrades to the bathrooms and building entrances, a commercial kitchen, painting and resurfacing the parking lot.

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