Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - The local effort to provide shelter and assistance for homeless and other needy individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic is getting a helping hand from the state.

Olmsted County has been awarded a $148,000 grant to help cover the costs of operating the program that includes the city of Rochester and the regional Catholic Charities organization.

The city opened the temporary day center March 24, less than one week after the library and other downtown entities closed in response to the pandemic. The center is operated at Mayo Civic Center from 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM with staff from the city and the Rochester Public Library leading the daytime operation. Visitors are given access to food, water, and other essentials.

The city also partnered with the county and Catholic Charities to relocate the warming center that operated near the Government Center during the winter to the civic center.

“This grant will allow our innovative and unique public-private partnership to assist vulnerable residents in Olmsted County,” said Olmsted County Director of the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Dave Dunn. “This funding will be used for our temporary shelter at Mayo Civic Center, hotel rooms where we are sheltering families and high-risk individuals, and on the supplies needed to safely continue these operations during this pandemic.

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