County approves agreements for two service centers

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners approved agreements for two county Human Services and Public Health regional services centers in south Minneapolis and Bloomington on Nov. 27.

The centers are part of the Human Services and Public Health departments’ efforts to locate direct services closer to clients in community-based sites throughout the county.

These services are now located primarily in downtown sites, including Century Plaza. Six regional centers – one already built – and a number of smaller satellite offices are planned.

Eventually the distribution of centers will allow closing of Century Plaza.

The Northwest Family Service Center opened on Oct. 1 in Brooklyn Center as the first of the group.

For the past several months the county has been working on center proposals in five other regions – south suburban, north Minneapolis, south Minneapolis, west suburban and central/northeast (downtown).

The county will negotiate a lease agreement with Sabathani Community Center Inc., 310 E. 38th St. in south Minneapolis, for rental space for the center. The human services and public health departments will occupy approximately 12,650 square feet of the community center. Sabathani has a food shelf, clothing and household goods distribution, after-school programming, a senior center, and health and wellness services for all ages.

The second agreement approved by the county board will be negotiated with Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People (VEAP) for leased space at 9600 Aldrich Ave. S. in Bloomington. The building is a 49,700-square-foot industrial-commercial space that will be owned and renovated by VEAP.

For more than 35 years VEAP – a nonprofit serving low-income people, the elderly and disabled in the south suburban area – has provided a range of services, including the largest food shelf in the state, children and youth services, and transportation and emergency financial assistance.

VEAP will occupy 26,100 square feet in the renovated building. Human services and public health will occupy 12,900 square feet and share 5,700 square feet with VEAP. The remaining space will be available to community partners.

The regional service centers in south Minneapolis and Bloomington will provide a wide range of services offered by human services and public health, including intake and assessment, financial assistance, health-care programs, child and adult protection, ongoing case management, and referrals to other county.