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Rochester extends contract with The Landing, future still uncertain

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- The Rochester City Council voted to extend the contract with The Landing through summer, but's not quite a done deal.

The Landing has been a place where people experiencing homelessness can find safety and extra support. Its mission is to get people off the streets and help them move forward with their lives.

Its been operating at the old Silver Lake Fire Station in Rochester since November through a six-month contract with the city. The contract was set to expire May 15, leaving the founders of organization unsure of its future.

On Tuesday, The Rochester City Council voted 5-2 to extend the contract through Aug. 31.

The Landing Co-Founder Dan Fifield said although he's happy about the extension, he's worried about the fate of the vulnerable population they serve. He said some people in the city need to see helping the homeless as more of a priority.

"It's good news that we have more time," Fifield said. "My question is, how do I tell my 210 unique individuals that we've had come through our doors since February 1, that they're not worth having services for anymore? To have the attitude that this isn't necessary, the statistics prove that it's totally necessary. These services are fundamental to somebody's existence."

Since the center opened, 143 people have secured transitional or permanent housing, and the Rochester Police Department has seen a decrease in incidents.

The extension through August will be funded with CARES Act money, totaling $158,000.

Fifield said future plans for The Landing will be discussed this weekend at a board meeting. He said eventually, the plan would be for the organization to have its own permanent building.

The venture would need to be funded through grants and fundraising, which can take a lot of time.

"Our friends here need the help of the community," Fifield said. "They don't generally want to be in this position. If anybody doesn't understand that, feel free to contact me, and I'll explain how these things happen."

The City of Rochester Parks Board still needs to give final approval on the contract extension Tuesday afternoon.

Megan Zemple

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