Keith Lattimore, director of Housing Stability for the county, said the contract cancellation is part of an effort to make certain there is funding to support housing for homeless people should there be a surge in homelessness or COVID infections in the months ahead. The county paid for the hotel rooms with money from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Security Act and American Rescue Plan. Those funds have not run out, but there is concern that they could, Lattimore said.
No elders leaving Capitol Ridge will find themselves without shelter, according to Siqveland. County staff will “work directly with each resident on his or her next step,” he said. “For some, that will be another shelter. For others, it will be more permanent housing.”
“Typically, government moves slowly,” said Ramsey County commissioner Trista Louise Matascastillo. “But we have to be flexible and nimble in a way we never have before.” That includes making sure funds are used in the most beneficial way and working quickly to help the homeless of all ages, she added.
“The tight timeline for securing permanent housing for our clients is posing challenges,” Blanchard said. “People may end up in housing that isn’t the right match for their needs and without the support necessary for success. If a place isn’t a great match and challenges ensue, clients could face eviction, and eviction creates additional challenges.
“This is a sensitive population with specific needs,” Blanchard said. “We want to do all we can to make sure they stay safe and healthy and continue to receive the care they need to live in dignity.”