Augustana Nursing Home Sold to Catholic Charities; New Homeless Shelter Planned

Non-profit Catholic organization plans to convert Augustana nursing home into a clinic and shelter for more than 200 homeless.

The Augustana Health Care Center is closing its doors. Catholic Charities bought the Augustana nursing home building on 1007 E 14th St., and they plan to do a $65 million renovation for a homeless housing project.

This housing project entails a massive reconstruction of the nursing home followed by a move for the current residents of the “Exodus” building, which is Catholic Charities now leases from St. Olaf Catholic Church in downtown Minneapolis.

Nearly $50 million for the purchase and renovation project will come from public funds contributed by the state, the Hennepin County, and the city of Minneapolis.

Augustana, which recently rebranded as Cassia after merging with Elim Care, will continue to own and operate the neighboring Augustana Apartments that stand on 11th Avenue between 14th Street and 17th Street.

When completed, this multimillion dollar project could provide 200-plus rooms for the local homeless, according to Catholic Charities. 

For Augustana, the change means laying off nearly 361 employees. And for the 170 current nursing home residents, the change means packing up and finding a new place to live.

The Star Tribune reported that the renovation will develop new office spaces for staff and 203 living spaces for those in need. Some will be furnished with medical respite beds. Those eligible for the rooms would be homeless veterans, homeless who are recovering from injury, and others who have dealt with chronic homelessness.

An Augustana’s spokesperson said they have had 80 empty rooms in the nursing home. The spokesperson said their current occupants will be moved to other facilities within the network—as for employees, they have the opportunity to transfer to another branch or move on with a different company. 

Augustana nursing home started as a missions organization long before modern social work programs and medicare. In the early 1900s, a Swedish missions home for young children and elderly took root on the south end of Elliot Park. Over the years, the focus changed to helping the elderly find rooms and community.

In 1960, Patch and Erickson Architects designed the six-story nursing home building, which was built the next year for $900,000. The adjacent Augustana apartment buildings, which provide apartments for seniors, went up in the 1980s. The apartments feature a “Main Street” with a bank, coffee shop, cafe, and other small shops.

The new project is expected to be up and running by 2021.