Mino Oski Ain Dah Young

Project Location: 769 University Ave W, St Paul, MN 55104

Nominated by: Project for Pride in Living, Landmark

Mino Oski Ain Dan Yung is a 42-unit supportive housing development for homeless Native American youth between the ages of 18 and 24. The project is across the street from rapid transit, bus lines, dedicated bikeways and many other resources for youth, such as employment, educational opportunities, retail, and grocery stores, along with medical services. Mino Oski Ain Dah Yung features a unique Native-inspired design that stands in stark contrast to the institutions that many of its young residents have experienced in the past, and blends with the diverse cultural and commercial businesses in the surrounding community.

Prior to this redevelopment, the site was mostly vacant. Previous commercial use at the site included an auto parts store and a paint store. The site was razed in 2012 with the exception of a dilapidated and vacant residential home. Environmental investigations measured contamination in soil above regulatory criteria, including polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, lead, and mercury.

One large hot spot consisting of most of the northern half of the site was excavated to an average of 5 feet below grade and hauled to a permitted landfill. A total of 3,500 tons of contaminated soil was properly disposed. Based on the high level of lead at one location at the site, a pre-excavation delineation of the high-lead spot was completed and soil measured for hazardous levels by toxicity characteristic leachate procedure, per the approved VRAP. The high-lead area was found not to contain hazardous levels of lead; stabilization of the soil was not necessary and the high-lead soil was properly disposed. Additionally, asbestos containing waste materials were abated from the vacant residential home prior to demolition and excavation at the site. The MPCA issued a No Further Action Determination for the site with respect to soil and soil vapor in November of 2019.

Mino Oski Ain Dan Yung offers extensive programming to connect and engage Native youth with their culture and prepare them for the future. The property includes circular gathering spaces on each floor designed specifically to promote Native teachings, including a first floor circular Native art gallery for families and guests. In addition, there are community teaching kitchens on each floor; a cultural community center to accommodate Native ceremonies; a Native cultural activities center; a sweat lodge for ceremonial sweats; and, a medicine garden for growing traditional medicines. Each youth is provided with a Transition Coach to guide them through their individualized case plans. Numerous partners provide dental health, benefits assistance, chemical dependency services, and completion of high school/secondary education goals. The project provides high quality housing and supportive services at a critical time in young peoples’ lives, a time in which stable housing and relationships with compassionate adults will allow them to develop the skills needed to navigate life as a self-sufficient adult.

Project Financing

  • Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (DEED match)
  • MN DEED Contamination and Cleanup Grant
  • Federal Home Loan Bank Des Moines
  • MET Council TBRA
  • Ramsey County

Project Partners

  • Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative (Owner and Developer)
  • Better Futures Minnesota (Service Provider)
  • CommonBond Communities (Property Manager)
  • Minnesota Department of Human Services (Provides rent subsidies for 32 SRO/community suite units)
  • Beacon Collaborating Partners (Capital Funding Partner)
  • Hennepin County (Capital Funding Partner)
  • Metropolitan Council (Capital Funding Partner)
  • City of Minneapolis (Capital Funding Partner)
  • Federal Home Loan Bank Des Moines (Capital Funding Partner)
  • National Equity Fund (LIHTC Equity Investor)
  • MN Department of Corrections (Supportive Services Partner)
  • Plymouth Congregational Church (Beacon Collaborating Congregation)
  • Westminster Church (Beacon Collaborating Congregation)