Nancy Edmonds Hanson
The Silver Linings Apartments, long planned by Churches United to provide permanent supportive housing for older adults who are homeless, is almost ready for construction to begin, thanks to an appropriation by the Moorhead City Council Monday.
The council unanimously approved using $200,000 from the city’s American Rescue Plan Act funds to fill the final gap in funding for the 36-unit apartment house. Pastor Sue Koesterman, executive director of sponsor Churches United, said that the organization and partner Beyond Shelter hope to break ground for the project in the next 90 days. It will be built next to the Bright Sky Apartments, another Churches United apartment building offering supportive permanent housing for formerly homeless parents and children.
Director of governmental affairs Lisa Bode pointed out that $7.1 million in recovery funds has been allocated to the city, of which $3.5 million has been received. The funds can be used for a number of eligible projects, including this request.
Planning for the project began in 2019, she said. The agency initially raised $250,000 in donations to launch the project. Its future seemed secure when the Minnesota Housing and Finance Agency approved infrastructure bonds and tax credits in March 2021. But rapidly rising construction costs opened up a funding gap. Originally $1.8 million, it was reduced to $1.3 million by “value engineering” by the project architect and engineers.
Earlier, the Clay County Commission also earmarked $150,000 from its own ARPA funding to help close the gap. Along with those funds, the city’s financing plus the additional $1.1 million expected to come from Minnesota Housing should enable Churches United to begin work on the project in about three months, Koesterman said.