Unused School Building Could Become Housing for Homeless

Posted at: 01/02/2014 6:37 PM
Updated at: 01/02/2014 7:07 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 News) -- There are more than 200 students in the Rochester School District that qualify as homeless. Now one of the district’s schools may become their home.

The old Gage Elementary was last the temporary home of the Boys and Girls Club. It may soon be the permanent home to families without one.

"I think it would be good use for that site, we're well aware that we currently have 277 of our students that are considered homeless," said superintendent Michael Munoz.

Rochester Superintendent Munoz is in talks to sell the school to Center City Housing. They plan to turn it into a housing development for homeless youth and families.

"This is an opportunity for them to get some sort of permnanment housing, we’re really excited about that opportunity, we think it's a good location," said Munoz.

Center City Housing says the building would be divided in two sections.

"We're looking to build a facility that would house both unaccompanied youths ages 16-21 and then in the other part of the building there would be units for families with children," said Center City Housing’s Nancy Cashman.

There would be efficiency units for the teens and multi bedroom units for the families. There would also be services provided and resources for the families to get on their feet.

"We found out in the survey that most people had already been homeless so the point is to interrupt that process of homelessness, and to get rid of the effects of it, especially in kids in school and how it sets them back and those consequences are felt through adulthood," said Cashman.

Center City Housing, which also manages the Silver Creek Housing development in Rochester, says the development would reduce costs on the community.

The school board will take up the sale of the building during their next board meeting.

"It's kind of a win-win, we get to get rid of one of our properties we don’t need and also we think it's going to meet a need of homeless students in our district," said superintendent Munoz.

Center City Housing says they will apply for the funding for the first steps of the project as early as this summer. The district will hold a public discussion on the topic at the next school board meeting.