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Dakota County commissioners reject plan to put homeless shelter in Eagan

Many residents criticized the plan's speedy timeline.

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. — A proposal for a homeless shelter in Dakota County stalled Tuesday after concerns from residents.

The Dakota County Board of Commissioners met for a special board meeting that lasted hours as dozens of community member spoke about the proposal.

The meeting was to discuss whether or not to apply for a $10 million grant from the Department of Human Services to help fund a homeless shelter. The proposal called for the shelter to be at the Norwood Inn & Suites hotel in Eagan. Neighbors voiced their worries about a shelter bringing crime to the area. 

"It would put the restaurants in jeopardy and the other businesses," said one Burnsville resident. 

A few advocated for the project. 

"As someone who lived in transitional housing," said one woman, "because I lived in transitional housing, I was able to go to the University of St. Thomas. Is able to work at a Fortune 100 company. Is able to pay significant taxes and provides significant benefit to this community. It is not going to go away. If this is not the site, then what is the site?"

Commissioners ultimately did move to motion for a vote. 

Many residents criticized the plan's speedy timeline.  The funding from the Department of Human Services came with a deadline on Thursday. 

"I acknowledge the grant timeline sped us up a lot faster than what we typically do, that was not something in our control," said Dakota County Social Services Director Evan Henspeter. 

Henspeter said that the location would still need to have further approval if the grant was secured.

"Until we can gather community awareness of what the problems are, what the issues are, what the variety of solutions are, we are not going to get to a meaningful place," said Mary Liz Holberg, commissioner of District 6. 

The county said it will continue looking at other housing solutions. 

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