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Construction for housing the homeless is on track

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GRAND FORKS, ND (WDAZ-TV) -- Despite the brutal temperatures, construction on a new place for the homeless is right on track.

WDAZ's Danielle Saitta tells us how it couldn't come at a better time.

What was once Royce La Grave Park, the corner of Walnut and 1st Avenue, is now the site of the newest affordable housing project for people in Grand Forks who don't have a place to call their own

“A homeless individual -- when they wake up in the morning, the first thing they think about is where are they going to spend that evening, that night,” says Terry Hanson, GFHA Executive Director.

“Those who are in the greatest need are served before those who come in on a first come, first serve basis,” says Sue Shirek.

Sue Shirek is the director of the Northlands Rescue Mission. She's one of many excited about the new project.

“Everything they need is right there at their fingertips and the apartments are going to be very nice apartments and a wonderful place for someone who needs to start over to get a chance at a new life,” says Shirek.

Northlands Rescue Mission is currently housing eighty-two clients every night. They can house up to one hundred and forty-seven. But La Grave on First is different. It's a forty-two single bedroom complex that will cater to those who are chronically homeless.

“So an individual who has experienced either the past twelve months of homelessness or experienced twelve months of homelessness in four different occasions over the last three years. Plus, they have a debilitating disability that contributes to their homelessness," says Hanson. 

Only 30% of a tenant's income will go towards paying for their one bedroom apartment including utilities such as heat and water. The first floor of this building will not have apartments and instead there's going to be community rooms such as an exercise room, a dining room and even a lounge area.

“If you're able to provide the opportunities that these individuals need and give them that second or third or fourth chance, they will improve their quality of life and they will live out their life in a better place on earth and everybody deserves that chance,” says Hanson.

The rest of the rent will be covered by federal assistance through the 'housing choice' program.

The project is expected to be finished by the end of summer, and tenants will start to be considered in June.