It appears that a Mankato shelter for the homeless will avoid becoming homeless itself, but it’s going to need some help to do so.

After much searching, Theresa House officials have identified a downtown building that will suffice and now are looking for backers to help with the anticipated $50,000 a year lease cost.

“We’re looking for partners — businesses, churches, individuals — that’s the critical piece,” Theresa House Director Pam Bartholomew said.

Theresa House, a 13-year-old shelter operated by St. Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church, must move because its space is needed for the church religious order’s new seminary program.

The Institute of the Incarnate Word, the order of priests that has taken over for the departed Jesuits, operates the shelter across the street from the church.

Seminarians must be lodged on the parish campus, while Theresa House, it was decided, is not dependent on a specific location.

In October, Theresa House officials hoped new quarters could be found by the end of that month and were optimistic about a potential site they had identified.

“But unfortunately it would have taken over $1 million just to rehab it,” Bartholomew said.

She declined to identify the downtown site Theresa House likely will relocate to, but said it will have the same number of beds — 18 — if not the square footage of its current building.

Theresa House provides emergency shelter and transitional housing to families and single women. The Salvation Army shelter in Mankato provides lodging for men only.

Bartholomew said Theresa House is consistently full and could easily double its occupancy based on community need. The shelter must turn away hundreds each year.

Lavonne Craig of North Mankato, who works with the disadvantaged through a local Head Start program, feels an increasing sense of urgency and need for such facilities.

“The homeless situation is not going to go away, and it will probably get worse under these adverse (economic) conditions,” she said.

Bartholomew said the economy, coupled with an affordable-housing shortage in the community, creates a double whammy when landlords’ buildings are foreclosed upon and tenants are evicted.

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