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From a closed motel to permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness

A metro area motel is hoping to help the homeless
A metro area motel is hoping to help the homeless 02:10

MINNEAPOLIS — The Metro Motel Inn in South Minneapolis is serving as a new housing option and another possible solution to the homelessness crisis.

"I think it should be a shock for anyone to see a city with tents on the street and sidewalks," said Pastor Kyle Hanson, Agate Housing Executive Director.

Hanson says the need to house people is greater than ever.

According to Hennepin County Housing Stability, as of the end of October, more than 450 families and 800 single adults are in the shelter systems in Hennepin County. That's 193 more families than at this time last year.

"Our shelters are full we are turning people away every day from shelter," Hanson said. "Usually that doesn't happen till the winter."

Agate Housing operates two full time shelters, and a food operation center serving 450 meals every day.

"Our number one focus for people is housing stability, trying to find the right environment for folks to get stabilized," Hanson said.

With the goal to house as many people as possible, the purchase of the Metro Inn Motel in South Minneapolis comes at a great time.

Agate purchased the motel from Hennepin County through a forgivable acquisition loan. In return, Agate will maintain the units for 30 years.

The 38-rooms will be for single adults earning the lowest income with rent ranging from $400 to $550.

"We will be taking referrals directly from the shelter system, through street outreach teams and other shelters throughout the twin cities are," Hanson said.

Sarah Byers is the property manager who will be overseeing the units.

"I'm so excited for the first client that comes in and we get to open that door, and say welcome home," Byers said.

Saturday, she gave WCCO's Ubah Ali a turn of one of the rooms.

Each room has a queen- or full-sized bed, mini fridge, closet space, and a bathroom. Byers said there will also be free laundry, free internet, and a full kitchen for everyone to use.

"This is one of the ways that we are hoping to really make an impactful difference in so many lives," she said.

Community members are also preparing to step up and help. Richfield United Methodist Church is preparing welcome baskets to help offset some of the costs associated with moving in.

Agate hopes to welcome guests within the next month before the cold winter air sets in.

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