Robbinsdale Approves Converting Hotel into Housing for Homeless Vets
A Robbinsdale hotel that’s been around for more than a century is being converted into housing for veterans.
The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans is remodeling the Robin Hotel into living space for homeless veterans.
“Some of our individual veterans enjoy the group living and they can make that their permanent choices — it doesn’t have to be transitional,” said Jon Lovald, chief operations officer for the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans. “We like to meet the veterans where they’re at and not refer to any one house, one building, one room as transitional housing.”
The Robbinsdale City Council unanimously approved the project this week.
“It’s a noble cause to try to help people that served our country — veterans — and who are having trouble transitioning from whatever problems they’ve had into a better way of life,” said Robbinsdale Mayor Bill Blonigan.
Originally known as the Elwood Hotel, the Robin Hotel building is located at the corner of 41st and Hubbard avenues. In it’s current state, it has 21 sleeping rooms.
Renovations at Robbinsdale Hotel for Homeless Veterans
The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans is planning to build four apartments on the main level of the building.
“The apartment units are going to be somewhat smaller than our standard but they are being kind of created within an existing shell,” said Rick Pearson, Robbinsdale city planner.
The nonprofit will use the remaining space for 11 sleeping rooms.
Veterans in the single-room occupancy often are looking for a “more permanent” living situation, and typically stay between seven and nine months, according to Lovald.
Others can stay for a longer period of time.
“It’s just the same as anybody owning an apartment building and renting,” Lovald said. “This is your house for right now and we’re going to figure out what your thing is next. But these [apartment] units, they could be residents for years.”
While the exterior of the building is well maintained, the nonprofit says the interior needs serious renovations.
“It really looks nice from the street,” Lovald said. “The inside of it needs a lot of work, and we want to provide dignified housing for veterans. Low-income housing specifically.”
The hotel was built in 1900. Its original home was in the 4000 block of Hubbard Avenue. The structure was moved in the late 1950s to the corner of 41st and Hubbard.
The council was supportive of the proposal, which was first introduced in February.
“I support the housing,” said Robbinsdale City Council Member Regan Murphy. “I look forward to the changes and welcoming the new neighbors.”