- Created: Monday, 05 December 2016 11:35
- Written by Carolyn Szczepanski
The impetus for the Solace Apartments came from an unlikely champion.
Three years ago, the Honorable Allison Krehbiel raised the alarm. The Judge for the Fifth Judicial District Court in Nicollet County (pictured right) was watching rehabilitated residents exit the criminal justice system and enter a housing market that made it nearly impossible for them to find a home.
With virtually no vacancy in the primary cities of St. Peter and Mankato, people with criminal backgrounds simply couldn’t compete. Instead, they ended up couch surfing or living in their vehicles, creating unstable lifestyles for their families and, all too often, paving a direct path to recidivism.
Krehbiel knew something had to change — and fast. So she contacted Rick Goodemann, CEO of Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership.
“Judge Krehbiel asked me what I intended to do about this problem,” Goodemann recalls with a laugh. “That’s how it started.”
Three years later, that call to action has resulted in Solace Apartments, 30 units of affordable housing with supportive services for people at high risk of homelessness who have mental health and/or substance abuse challenges. While the vision is far from complete, last month the ground-breaking project in St. Peter received $6.7 million in funding from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. Adding shine to its award, the project secured the state’s first allocation from the National Housing Trust Fund — and is being heralded as a national model already.