May 21 town hall on Luther homeless shelter plan switched to larger venue

By Scott Carlson and Bill Brady

         A May 21 town hall to discuss plans for operating a county homeless shelter at Luther Seminary is being moved to a larger venue to accommodate wider community interest.

         Originally slated for the Luther Seminary Chapel, officials announced today the informational meeting will instead take place in Luther’s Chapel of the Incarnation at Olson Campus Center, 1490 Fulham St. The time remains the same, 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

         Officials noted that the west entrance of the Olson Campus Center is currently closed for construction; guests will need to enter the building through the east entrance.

         Representatives from Ramsey County, the city of St. Paul and Model Cities of St. Paul will be on hand to deliver information and respond to citizen concerns about the proposed three-year rental agreement.

In a news statement on its website, Luther Seminary management said they were approached recently by Ramsey County to lease Stub Hall, a vacant dormitory at 2329 West Hendon Avenue, for the purpose of housing people experiencing homelessness.

“The county’s interest is due to the rising number of people living in St. Paul who are housing insecure,” the statement said.

According to an accompanying FAQ page about the project, the opening of the “Safe Space Shelter” in Stub Hallis part of a phased approach to close Ramsey County’s Government Center East, where it had been previously located.

Stub Hall has been leased to the county as an emergency shelter before. From December 2020–June 2022, it sheltered up to 50 unhoused women and couples per night. Under the new arrangement, Ramsey County intends to provide 64 overnight beds to “adult individuals, each night, year-round from 10 p.m. – 9 a.m.”

The proposed lease, officials said, is consistent with Luther Seminary’s Welcome Statement, which states: “In Christ, all are neighbors one to another.”

Luther Seminary would continue to maintain the building and grounds for the duration of the 3-year lease.

Scott Carlson is managing editor of the St. Anthony Park Bugle. Bill Brady is copy editor.

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