St. Paul considers new zoning regulations for homeless day shelters |

St. Paul considers new zoning regulations for homeless day shelters

Joe Mazan
Updated: July 27, 2021 06:26 PM
Created: July 27, 2021 05:04 PM

St. Paul is considering new zoning regulations for homeless day shelters in the city.

The proposed new zoning regulations could lead to shelters opening in different neighborhoods.

"Amid our ongoing work to address housing insecurity across our city, the public health and economic crisis of the past 18 months has only further exacerbated our housing crisis, while compounding the challenges those experiencing homelessness face," Nicolle Goodman, St. Paul's planning and economic development director, said in a statement. "This proposed zoning amendment expands our ability to support members of our community experiencing homelessness by providing vital spaces of support, services and resources."

The Freedom House Day Shelter has created problems for businesses and people living in the West Seventh neighborhood.

"I wouldn't wish it on another neighborhood," Rita Warner said. "We do find needles in the park, garbage and feces. Sometimes you don't even feel safe to go the door in your own neighborhood."

"Our hospitality is radical because it's simple. We say, 'Yes, please come in, we're happy to see you here today,'" said Molly Jalma, the executive director of Listening House of St. Paul. "The answer isn't to limit or move programs like Freedom House — the answer is to increase them.

"The more options and choices people have, the more empowered they are to meet their needs independently. Major cities take the brunt. They're the entertainment, business, and social services hubs for the state. Imagine if people didn't move to St. Paul or Minneapolis just so there was somewhere to charge their phone and take a shower. The issue here isn't Freedom House, the issue is much more regional and much more complex."

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