Nonprofit housing moving into new home | Local News
Partners for Housing clients regularly deal with the challenges of finding an affordable place to live in the Mankato area.
Earlier this year, Partner found himself in a similar situation. The sale of the Good Advice rental space at Loyola Catholic School means nonprofit housing will have to find a new home.
The parallels are not lost on Executive Director Jen Theneman.
“Early when I found out in January, it was kind of:‘ What are we going to do? ’” He said.
Clients still face barriers to finding accommodation, he said. But the time and effort involved in finding a new location within an affordable price range can be overwhelming whether you are an individual, family or organization.
The partners ended up finding office space on the second floor of Mankato Place. The nonprofit is almost done with its gradual move from Good Advice to the new location in the former mall.
Moving town has advantages, such as being a more central location for clients and close proximity to nearby Theresa House and Welcome Inn shelters. The trade-off, though, is higher rent.
This will make fundraisers and grants more valuable going forward. The rent increase was worth more than three times the previous amount.
“There are pluses and minuses of moving, but it’s something that keeps me up at night to think about how much we’re spending,” Theneman said.
The partners ’first fundraiser after the move will be a wine and beer tasting on November 13 at the Circle Inn in North Mankato. Tickets for the Sips 4 Shelter event go on sale Nov. 1.
While the move is nearly complete, the Partner’s office team has been working between the two locations in recent weeks. Shelter operations were not affected, as on-site staff worked on them.
Office staff saw help from family and volunteers in preparing the new space. A group of retirees – Sandra Loerts, Dorine Baker, Claudia Cooper, Barb Eide, Virginia Carr, Carrol Meyers -Dobler and Meyers -Dobler’s sister, Barb – volunteered to pack the boxes and help put of new address labels on envelopes and forms. Meyers-Dobler is a former director of the nonprofit.
Other volunteers helped staff paint the town office, Communications Manager Kirsten Becker said. He credits volunteers Bridget Norland and Jeni Bobholz for giving a hand in the painting.
Aside from a hired moving crew, Theneman and Becker were tasked with hauling items into town over the course of numerous trips back and forth. Becker made another trip on Tuesday, then pointed out all the boxes of donated pillows and quilts and COVID-19 supplies stacked on a wall almost to the ceiling.
The move has become remnants from the history of the nonprofit. Becker released one, a stained glass window of Theresa House, before presenting a thick scrapbook of Partner articles over the years.
All of this and more was sorted into new areas as the nonprofit settled downtown. Internet acquisition and operation is the main remaining restraint, Becker said.
“Most of our stuff is here,” he said. “But we can’t get here until we get Internet service. That’s kind of our glitch right now. “
The downtown office has less storage space than the previous location. People often call the nonprofit who wants to donate beds or other large furniture, but there isn’t much room for it now. Monetary donations will be helpful in advancing.
Once ready, though, Becker said being downtown should be a positive for clients.
“It’s more convenient for them to get here,” he said. “We’re also really grateful to have our own space so we can maintain the kind of confidentiality that’s necessary in the kind of work we do.”
Conference rooms in the downtown space are now available for the program, Theneman said. Residents at nearby town shelters can use them for budgeting, parenting and other skills classes.
Previously, the nonprofit had to look for space elsewhere to offer such programs.
Having signage downtown can get the nonprofit’s name out there to the many people who can use its services.
“It puts us on the map,” Theneman said.
The partners now serve about 96 households per day. It has 11 full -time staff – six working in housing or administrative programs and five working in shelters – along with part -time and support staff.