South Minneapolis motel to reopen as affordable housing

South Minneapolis motel to reopen as affordable housing

South Minneapolis motel to reopen as affordable housing

On a busy intersection of Lyndale Avenue and 57th Street in south Minneapolis, the 1950s-era Metro Inn Motel sits vacant, but new life will soon take over. 

“It’s been a mad dash to the finish line,” said Sarah Byers, Agate Housing & Services community manager. “We’ve got our rental license, and we’re getting the rooms all spiffed up and ready to go.”

Byers says single adults who currently don’t have a place to live can find refuge at the former Metro Inn Motel starting in January. 

“If… you’re couchsurfing, if you’re living in someone’s basement, if you’re living in your car, there are so many adults that are doing that, that you wouldn’t even know about,” said Byers.

There are 38 units at the Metro, each room can only serve one adult. To qualify, tenants need to be referred through an agency and earn two times the monthly rent of $462. 

Hennepin County bought the property in 2020 and used it as an emergency shelter during the pandemic. Nonprofit Agate Housing & Services is now running it on a 30-year forgiveable loan.

“There’s so many things in this neighborhood for people who may not have their own transportation that they can get to very easily on foot,” Byers said. 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) found 8,393 people in Minnesota were experiencing homelessness this year during the Point-In-Time Count. That’s a six percent jump from last year. 

With a mission to end homelessness, Byers says the hope is to rejuvenate the neighborhood and the lives that will live at the affordable housing. 

“Something to establish community and to enjoy life beyond survival,” she said. 

Byers says they have already processed and approved 38 tenants. This will be the nonprofit’s third affordable housing residential building.