A new housing complex in St. Paul is providing a stable place to live for once-homeless youth.
Tenants are filling up the Prior Crossing development, home to 44 studio apartments for young people between the ages of 16 and 22.
Just off the Green Line on University Avenue, it's the largest permanent supportive housing complex for youth in the East Metro, said Lee Blons, executive director of Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, which developed the project.
Each furnished apartment comes with a bathroom and a studio kitchen. Residents are expected to buy groceries and cook. They also can help themselves to donated cookware, blankets and other household items that they might need for their first apartment.
"It is independent living," Blons said. "These are young adults, and we really want to lift them into adulthood."
Rent is offered on a sliding scale based on the person's income. Case managers and an employment specialist employed by the Wilder Foundation are on site to help renters find leads on jobs and health resources.
Homeless youth often have unique challenges that can have profound implications on their lives later on, said Janayah Bagurusi, a Wilder program manager.
"The lack of stability and not being able to focus on finishing school, not able to remain stably employed — hopping from couch to couch or perhaps riding the light rail for time to sleep — is much harder on somebody who's younger," she said.
The $11 million complex was financed by a mix of private and public dollars.
To apply for housing at Prior Crossing, contact Safe Zone at 651-224-9644.