KFNA Redevelopment Committee
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
7 – 9 P.M. Martin Luther King Park
Attendance: approximately 70 people
Redevelopment Committee Member
Mark Hinds, Arthur Knowles, Tom Parent, Rosemary Dolata, Doug Kress, Dave Saddoris
KFNA Staff: Sarah Linnes-Robinson and Joanna S. Hallstrom
Welcome/Introduction of Meeting:
Tom Parent called the meeting to order and gave an overview of evenings presentations and discussions. Parent gave an update on the Minneapolis Comprehensive Plan and summarized why there is a new plan and what major changes expected. Parent reported the formation of joint Lyndale & Kingfield Comprehensive Plan study group and invited residents who would like to participate to contact him.
I. Greater Context of Supportive Housing
Cathy ten Broeke of Heading Home Hennepin gave an overview of why supportive housing exists and what the county’s role is in addressing the issues of homelessness. In her presentation ten Broeke explained research that had been done to identify national best practices to address homelessness. Heading Home Hennepin is the county’s plan to address homelessness in partnership with the State. The goal is 5,000 housing option for homeless people. 910 of these are designated for youth hand young adults. This group is a need of quality housing that is affordable and linked to services that help people succeed in their situation.
The supportive housing model works and is cost effective. There isn’t one housing structure that is most recommended. It can be single sites or scattered sites.
Regarding youth and supportive housing best practices have identified that the intake process needs to be flexible. Youth are more likely to choose services in a flexible context. The service provider must understand the youth culture and development. Young adults need to be allowed to develop at their own pace and move ahead.
II. PCNF Process for Choosing this Project
Doug Mitchell, Associate Pastor of Missions and Outreach from Plymouth Church gave the back ground for why PCNF is involved in supportive housing. Based on their core religious belies to be involved in social justice issues and to help the poor. Plymouth Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church have partnered together to increasing affordable housing for people in need.
The Nicollet Square project started in October 2005 when PCNF first met with the Family Housing Fund, the County, The City, Department of Human Services and Members of Housing 150 and PCNF, and MN Housing Finance Services to develop a more focused plan to participate in ending homelessness in the county and decided to target homeless youth.
When selecting a site for a their project 3700 Nicollet was appealing because is was large enough for the development and it was near public transportation.
PCNF met with other youth supportive housing providers in the area to talk about what was currently being done to serve this population, how was this group being under served and what could be done better in serving this population.
The feedback from these meetings and other research help develop the facility and program design model that PCNF wanted to pursue (A flat rent structure and work fast model linked to affordable housing). PCNF put out an RFP for a social service organization. Youth Link was awarded the contract.
Social Service Program Description [PCNF, YouthLink, Housing 150]
A panel or representatives from PCNF, YouthLink and Housing 150 answered questions generated by the Kingfield community about inner workings of day-to-day life of proposed development. Kingfield residents were emailed a FAQ, specifically addressing each question prior to tonight meeting. Copies of the FAQ were available as needed. Residents were asked not to re-ask questions that were specifically addressed in the FAQ but could ask relate clarification and related questions.
The executive director gave an overview and history of YouthLink’s 30-year experience working with youth. A written summary can be found at HYPERLINK “http://www.kingfield.org” www.kingfield.org under the redevelopment link. YouthLink services are often partnered with other providers (e.g. Hennepin County Front Door and African American Services). YouthLinks goal is to create an environment that empowers but not enables youth. Their vision is to end homelessness and poverty for youth. YouthLink staff receive 52 hours of training a year. YouthLink has built a framework, expertise and history for serving youth well. Their #1 commitment is to homeless youth.
Program description –
Residents will be screened before they are accepted into the program. Residents will pay a flat rental fee. The fee will start at $204 the first year and second year, increase to $305 the third year and increase again the 4th year to $410. A flat fee requires that residents secure and maintain an income. The fees are affordable but are required as part of rental agreement. The increases help move the resident to market rate rents. The housing is permanent. Residents can stay as long as they need to. Staying too long is not a concern as statistically young residents move out within 6mo to 1yr. PCNF and YouthLink will be trying to keep residents longer in order to help them stabilized as much as possible and prepare for independent living.
No alcohol or drugs will be allowed and guest visits are restricted.
The building will be staffed 24hrs a day. During the day time there will be 5 staff on site (3-YouthLink social workers, employment specialist, property manager, front desk). The desk person will monitor the doors 24hrs a day. Comparing this project to others like it, one person to monitor the doors is adequate.
The programs will be structure based on a work fast model. PCNF and YouthLink will partner with an employment services provided to help with job placement and coaching. Residents will not all be employed at the same time. Some will be going to school and/or working part time. Work training will be provided as well as help with career development – a comprehensive component of these services. Residents will be assisted with finding immediate employment either through the retail partnerships within Nicollet Square and outside businesses.
The development is not scheduled to open until the fall of 09 or the spring of 2010. PCNF is excited to work on partnerships with local resources such as the YMCA, Family Tennis Center, MLK Park. Kingfield residents are encouraged to volunteer as mentors.
PCNF is committed to work on eliminating and reducing crime in the area and will actively work with and cooperate with the police staff. As with other projects Nicollet Square staff and residents can/will participate in the neighborhoods Crime and Safety meetings.
IV. Question and answer session on issues of the social service model for PCNF and YouthLink.
Parent asked that everyone be familiar with the HYPERLINK “http://www.kingfield.org/kfna_housing_redevelopment.htm” \o “FAQ and Addendums” FAQ and Addendums that were emailed out before the meeting and made available on the Kingfield website and provided at this meeting. Parent stated that tt is the goal to expound on items in the in the FAQ but not re-ask or re-answer items posted in this document.
Q. How will the no drug and alcohol policy be enforced?
A. It will not be done as a “police search”. If drugs or alcohol are abused or found on the site residents would be asked to leave.
Q. What happens if the front desk person needs to leave?
A. It is common to only have one staff person in charge of the desk. People cannot enter if the front desk person leaves, as they have to be buzzed in. There will be cameras inside and outside of the building at the front and back doors. PCNF met with CPS Thompson to do a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design assessment that will be incorporated into the design plans.
Q. What is the track record to success?
A. This is PCNF’s first affordable housing project for young adults. PCNF’s partnership with YouthLink will bring the expertise and track record needed to run a successful program. The average stay at a YouthLink unit is 1 year. 70% move on to healthy non-supportive housing.
Q. 40% of youth have mental illness what type of support is provided for them?
A. YouthLink has a mental health support through partnerships and has a clinical psychologist that they can refer youth to.
Q. If you did the research in October 2005, when did you send out the RFP?
A. Early fall of 2007. The delay was because PCNF become involved in buying back a 20-unit section 8 building (process took 1 ½ year).
Q. Were the program parameters outlined in the RFP? How much say to YouthLink have in the program proposal?
A. Lee Blons stated her background working with affordable housing, directing a homeless shelter etc. Blons stated that there was 18-20 months of program planning and research. They are committed to doing what works. PCNF asked for provider feedback before the RFP was posted. YouthLink liked the parameters that PCNF proposed.
Q. Of unsuccessful how many are dropping out and let go from programs?
A. 17% of youth were asked to leave. 70% of youth developed rental history and had a positive transition to independence. These stats are from one YouthLink program. The note take was unable to record all the statistics that were presented for this question.
Q. What supportive services are available (page 3 of FAQ)? Can they choose?
A. Residents are not required to participate in services. Please look at the study addendum for more info. Research says that young people that are not required to access services participate in them at the same rate as those who are required. This is a youth engagement model where relationship building, development of respect for each other and the facility are keys to successful and positive results in youth’s independent transitioning.
Q. Why a youth model and not adult model?
A. The population PCNF will serve on this project is 18-21. For 14-16 year old youth the goal is family reunification as much as possible. This model is for young people that are unaccompanied and have not support base. These youth need help to connect back to education. This group is also very vulnerable. There is also very limited shelter for homeless youth. There are only 70 beds for emergency shelter in this areas. Youth have full lives and with the right assistance will be able to integrate back into the community.
Q. Why 42 units – the answer in the FAQ is week? 21 units verses 42 seems to be more manageable.
A. Archdale has 37 units, Barnabus has 37, Lydia has 40 units. PCNF believes that it is a reasonable model. Other neighborhoods associations have not expressed a negative impact.
Q. What will happen in 15-20 years when funding dries up?
A. If the use of the building were to change it would be transferred into rental and maybe converted into one bedroom units.
Q. What is residents stay for four years? You will have significant age differences between residents (minors with adults). Will you balance the gender of the residents and sexual orientation?
A. Each person is judged based on their individual merits. Residents will reflect the youth homeless locally. There is a large GLBT youth population, a majority African American and Native American. The male female ratio is about a 40/60 gender mix.
From past experience youth are very protective of their environment. Any type of illegal activity will be reported as staff are mandatory reporters. Any resident under 18 must have the permission of a guardian.
Q. Security guard (front desk) is a high turn over position isn’t it? How do you prevent the desk person from becoming buddies with the residents and turning a blind eye to negative activity?
A. The front desk staff are part of the whole house culture. They become the youth advocate. There are precautions in place to prevent this from happening.
Q. How does supportive job coaching work?
A. The job coach is the buffer between the employee and their client. They help with placement and trouble shooting any issues that arise in the work place.
Q. Why will the majority of residents be African American? Due to systemic issues there will be more homeless kids coming from foster care. Do you use a strength based model?
A. The demographic at YouthLink programs is 70% African American youth.
A strength based model interrelated to positive youth development. Youth spend to much time on negative issues. A community model of living is most effective. This program is designed to help youth aging out of foster care – providing a place for them to transition into independence without becoming homeless first.
Q. Concern that the building will become a vacuum for other homeless youth that do no want help.
A. This has not been a problem at other youth supportive housing site and it will be addressed if it becomes a problem at Nicollet Square.
Q. How will youth be able to find money for the first months rent and deposit? If they don’t have to participate in school, work etc how will they pay?
A. There is an application process to get into Nicollet Square. Some youth will have jobs already; some money will come from the county, some from other programs. Youth must engaged in services to get financial assistance. Youth cannot stay in Barnabus or Archdale if they cannot pay rent, the same will be true with Nicollet Square. The model is one of empowerment and not enablement. Youth who do not have a legal source of income will not be able to stay – this encourages work.
The Experiences of Other Neighborhoods with Similar Developments
Dave Fields, Elliot Park neighborhood, home of Barnabas was not able to attend tonight but sent a detailed letter of Elliot Park’s experience with Barnabas. Elliot Park is very supportive of the project and has not experience any negative affects from it.
Ken Stroebel, Stevens Square neighborhood, home of Lydia Apartments gave a brief history of the controversy that Stevens Square neighborhood had with the Lydia project (PCNF supportive housing for adults with mental illness and chemical dependency). Residents were adamantly opposed to the project and wanted the property to be developed into something other then supportive or assisted living of which their neighborhood has a number of already. They wanted to diversify the type of developments in their neighborhood. Lydia Apartments did get developed and the neighborhood has not had any negative impacts from the project and residents been good neighbors.
Minutes completed by Joanna S. Hallstrom, NRP Project Organizer