Gage East Apartments begins welcoming its first tenants this week
Gage East Apartments, a long-term housing facility for the city's homeless population, began welcoming new residents this week.
The apartments, located on the site of a former elementary school in north Rochester, will provide housing and services for 30 homeless families and 25 youth ages 16-21. The project has already received 150 pre-applications from interested tenants, according to the developer, Center City Housing Corp.
Residents at Gage East Apartments will pay, on average, about a third of their income to live there. In addition to the housing, tenants will be supported by on-site case managers to connect them with additional resources.
This past weekend, volunteers helped stock the apartments with hundreds of household essentials donated by the community through a Target gift registry. Items included sheets, comforters, towels, dinner plates, glasses and utensils. Several local churches also donated quilts, as well as funds.
"The [gift registry] has been a huge success and a testimonial of the giving hearts of the Rochester community," said Sheila Rainey, an associate development director for Center City Housing.
The Gage East project is a collaboration between Center City Housing and Olmsted County. It received $11 million in state funding back in 2014. Other partners on the initiative include: Lutheran Social Services, Rochester Public Schools, Families First/Head Start and Workforce Development, Inc.
To complement the new 55-unit housing complex, a $2.5 million capital campaign is under way to renovate the former elementary school building and turn it into an Empowerment Center.
The facility, which is expected to open around this time next year, will house multiple community agencies that serve low income and homeless families and youth. Programming will focus on early childhood and youth development, education, job training and mental health support.
"It will provide an array of services for youth and families living in the building, and also for folks living in the neighborhood," said Nancy Cashman, the supportive housing development director for Center City Housing.
Though it can be difficult to track, annual estimates indicate there are 200 to 300 homeless families in Rochester. A survey this past March found there were 368 homeless youth in our community during the 2015-16 school year.
Watch the video below to learn more about this initiative.
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(Cover graphic: Center City Housing Corp.)