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The Landing considers its options ahead of contract expiration

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The Landing on Silver Lake Drive

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- For the last two years, The Landing in Rochester has been a soft place to land for people in need.

It was the dream of Dan Fifield and his wife, Holly to open place where people who struggle with homelessness could have a place to get help.

The Landing entered a six-month contract with the City of Rochester in November to use the old Silver Lake fire station to conduct operations.

The contract expires on May 15, a little over two months away.

The Rochester City Council weighed options about the next steps for the property in a study session on Monday.

One option the city council discussed was not renewing the contract. Some cited warmer weather and more vaccinated people as the rationale to end the contract. Along with the contract termination, the current pandemic-level accommodations for the population at Silver Lake would also end.

Option two was to renew the contract and continue funding for food and staff. The cost to fund the center is $44,000 a month. The center employs 12 people.

Fifield said he is working on finding other solutions so The Landing can continue to operate. One plan is start an aggressive fundraising campaign so they can build their own permanent location.

"We are more than just a place where people go to sleep," Fifield said. "We have so many resources that we use to help people get back on their feet."

In the study session, data was presented that showed that since the pandemic-level accommodations were started, 143 people found stable housing and more people experiencing homelessness were able to access services. Additionally, there was a 31.9% decrease in police incidents per month.

Fifield said he hopes the contract is renewed, as there is still a lot of work to be done.

"The message I want everybody to take home is that it's not truly city or a county problem," Fifield said. "It's all of our problem. Because any one of us, any one of our children, or our parents, could be put in this position in a matter of moments."

A decision will be most likely be made in a few weeks.

Megan Zemple

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