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Lutheran Social Services to take over Bismarck facility

June 14, 2019
Property manager Nikki Purvis, foreground, looks over a long list of apartments available inside the the former Ruth Meiers Hospitality House shelter in Bismarck, N.D., to view as Paulette Paulson, back left, and Jessica Thomasson, middle, both with Lutheran Social Services, take a tour of the Bismarck facility on Thursday, June 13 2019. The tour involved members of the LSC House Board of Directors. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)
Property manager Nikki Purvis, foreground, looks over a long list of apartments available inside the the former Ruth Meiers Hospitality House shelter in Bismarck, N.D., to view as Paulette Paulson, back left, and Jessica Thomasson, middle, both with Lutheran Social Services, take a tour of the Bismarck facility on Thursday, June 13 2019. The tour involved members of the LSC House Board of Directors. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota plans to acquire the Ruth Meiers Hospitality House’s property in Bismarck and turn the facility into affordable housing.

Lutheran Social Services is partnering with CommunityWorks North Dakota on the acquisition. The plan is to take over the facility by the end of summer.

The sale of the site is “in the works,” Lutheran Social Services CEO Jessica Thomasson told The Bismarck Tribune . Choice Bank took ownership of the facility last month.

“The reason we got involved was to try to preserve these 85 units of affordable housing in Bismarck, because it’s hard when a community loses an asset like that to ever get it back,” Thomasson said.

The status of Ruth Meiers Hospitality House is unclear. Thomasson said the nonprofit no longer offers services at the East Boulevard Avenue location and doesn’t have staff.

Mike Mulloy, who is listed as a member of Ruth Meiers’ board of directors and served as vice president, told the newspaper he is no longer on the board and declined to answer questions.

Lutheran Social Services began managing the facility in March up until May 31, Thomasson said.

Ruth Meiers Hospitality House purchased the former Baptist Home in 2013. It offered two programs: a transitional living program and an affordable housing program.

The transitional living program provided 127 beds for men, women and children. The affordable housing program offered 85 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments.

Thomasson said the plans to purchase the facility include retaining the 85 apartments, renovating some of the units and common areas and turning underutilized space into 20 additional apartments. The site would be renamed Porter Place Apartments.

About half of the 85 apartment are currently occupied, despite Choice Bank owning the facility, Thomasson said.

“No one has been displaced because of any of this transition,” she said. “That’s really testament, I think, to everybody working together to try to make sure that people’s lives are disrupted as little as possible.”

Ruth Meier’s Hospitality House closed its emergency men’s shelter in October 2017.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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