Catholic Charities at Elliot Park is a project that has been years in the making—and the project is finally complete! The adaptive reuse building complex includes the new Catholic Charities administrative headquarters, a Hennepin County Healthcare for the Homeless Clinic, the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Recuperative Care Center, and most exciting of all, the Endeavors Residence.
Endeavors is a reimagination of former Catholic Charities program Exodus Residence, with the space offering over 170 newly-refurbished units of supportive housing. Recently, staff and residents shared their experiences as they moved to this new space.
Coming from the hustle and bustle of downtown Minneapolis where Exodus was located, the slower-paced neighborhood of Endeavors offers residents comfort and space for growth—with the city’s first-ever park right across the street! “It was hard to focus on myself at Exodus because I felt like I was always looking over my shoulder, on alert for trouble,” one resident explained. “At Endeavors, I feel like I can take a deep breath and heal.”
The new space offers more than a calmer neighborhood–the building itself is a chance to grow a community. Between offering more communal spaces for movie nights, bingo, barbeques in the park, and other group activities, staff cited the intentionality of simple choices as meaningful aspects of the new space. For example, the internal color scheme is in line with trauma-informed practices, displaying calming blue, green, and brown tones. “Exodus felt like a program,” Program Manager Rachel Silver expressed. “Endeavors is a home.”
Of course, the move also presented some challenges. Navigating change, even when it’s wanted, can be difficult, and this move was no exception. Due to tight timelines, residents were not able to see their Endeavors apartments prior to moving and this caused understandable anxiety. Many of those who live at Endeavors have experienced years of housing instability and some have grown to distrust programs, systems, and even people who have failed them over time. As challenging as it might have been, the critical component in executing this move was the relationships that program staff developed with residents to support them through this uncertainty.
But the overall mood was one of hope and excitement. Case managers and program staff are enthusiastic about this move, too. Bethany, who joined the team one week before the move, says she is looking forward to staff and residents being more integrated at Endeavors, as there is a staff desk right off the elevators on each floor. Vanessa is excited for residents to experience being the first to use the space, including linens, mattresses, and refrigerators, a feeling she expressed loving herself—“like the first scoop of peanut butter!” Rachel went one step further, commenting on the emotional impact the move can provide. “They are the first people living in these apartments. They’re not walking into someone else’s trauma or baggage,” she said. “They get to choose what they bring with them and what they leave behind at Exodus.”
At Endeavors, residents have an opportunity to define home for themselves, put down roots, and look forward to the next chapter in their lives. Thank you to all who have made this possible, and to Endeavors residents: welcome home!