A new purpose for an old school?

The homeless population in Rochester continues to grow according to the latest survey about 170 families and 300 children are homeless or in some type of shelter.

But folks with no where to go could soon be calling an old Rochester elementary school home.

“We know we have over 250 of our students sitting in our classroom today that are students in transition or for a variety of different reasons, they are considered homeless.”

Rochester Schools Superintendent Michael Munoz recognizes that’s a problem affecting more than just the city of Rochester, but the students in his district.

And soon Gage East Elementary School might become a solution.

The building is no longer being used as a school.

The district is working with a non-profit housing group that’s interested in using the property as permanent housing for homeless families and youth in the area.

“We see this as a win-win an opportunity for us to sell some property that we don’t have any use for in the future and hopefully meet the need of some of our students that are in transition,” says Munoz.

Center City Housing Corporation, a non profit out of Duluth, hasn’t put down a formal offer on the property but say they’re interested in the property to build an apartment building and use the existing school building as a community center.

“It will focus on families and youth where people will sign a lease just like you would in any other apartment building and they will be able to live there as long as they play by the rules and pay rent,” says Rick Klun, Executive Director of Center City Housing.

Munoz says before the school board will make any decisions, Center City will be required to hold a neighborhood meeting to give people a better understanding of the potential plans.

Nothing is set in stone and no offer has even been made on the property.

Center City tells us right now they’re working on coming up with funding to purchase and operate the housing facility.

They hope is to get all funding approved by this fall and begin construction in the spring of 2015.

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