Saint Paul City Council approves affordable housing funds for Ashland Apartments

The proposed project will rehab a currently vacant building to create new, affordable permanent supportive housing units for extremely low-income individuals.

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SAINT PAUL — On March 15, 2023, the Saint Paul City Council approved using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for the Ashland Apartments, a supportive housing development by RS EDEN for extremely low-income residents.

The project involves the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of an existing, vacant building at 532 Ashland Avenue in the Summit-University neighborhood. The repurposed property will feature 17 single room occupancy units for individuals with incomes restricted to 30% Area Median Income (AMI) or below for the next 40 years. 10 of the units will be specifically reserved for homeless individuals and all 17 units will be reserved for persons with a disability and will have supportive services provided.

Prior to 2021, RS EDEN operated this site as a group residential facility. They will continue to serve as the owner, property manager and service provider.

“This investment in supportive housing is vital for our growing city, and I’m proud that it found its home in Ward 1,” said Councilmember Russel Balenger. “The Ashland Apartments have served vulnerable members of our community for years, and I’m thrilled that it will continue to do so in partnership with RS EDEN.”

The rehabilitation work should begin in April and will involve external renovations (including roofing, siding, windows and security improvements) and interior improvements (such as plumbing, boiler, flooring and an expanded commercial kitchen).

Once the upgrades are complete, resident referrals will come through Ramsey County Coordinated Entry as well as from a network of local residential providers.

Ramsey County has also allocated capital funding support from their Inclusive Housing Development spring 2022 solicitation and all 17 units were awarded Housing Support subsidy from Ramsey County Community Human Services.

“Investing into Ashland Apartments represents our dedication to serve our residents, including those previously homeless or incarcerated, in order to build a resilient and equitable community,” said Ramsey County Housing Redevelopment Authority Board Chair Mai Chong Xiong. “We are extremely grateful for our partnership with the City of Saint Paul and the commitment we’ve made together to ensure investments into deeply affordable housing infrastructure are strategic and provide safe, stable and permanent housing for our residents who need it most.”

The City of Saint Paul and Ramsey County pledged to dedicate $74 million in federal ARPA funding for deeply affordable housing in December 2021. This is among the largest public investments in deeply affordable housing in the country. The City’s investment of $37.5 million into the 30% AMI Deeply Affordable Housing Fund will support multiple recommended projects, and once approved, should create 225 new units of housing for Saint Paul families earning 30% or less of Area Median Income.

“The support from both the City of Saint Paul and Ramsey County is allowing RS EDEN to further propel its mission by better responding to the community need for safe, affordable and supportive housing,” said Caroline Hood, President and CEO of RS EDEN. “As we work to tackle the growing homeless population in our community, our partnerships are that much more critical.”

Lois Lane

Lois Lane is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter at the Daily Planet. The daughter of General Sam Lane, she grew up learning hand-to-hand combat and survival techniques. After being hired by Perry White at the Daily Planet, Lois coined the name "Superman" and, because of incisive reporting on the Super Hero's incredible adventures, her career is forever linked to the Man of Steel. She remains one of Superman's strongest allies.

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