LaGrave on First is Grand Forks’ first Permanent Supportive Housing that utilizes the Housing First approach.
Permanent Supportive Housing is an evidence based model used to provide individuals safe, decent, affordable housing and to offer supportive services such as case management, medical services, substance abuse treatment, mental health counseling, and employment services all under one roof.
Housing First is the approach endorsed by the federal government to end homelessness by offering immediate housing without preconditions or barriers to entry. Individuals are housed based on their need for housing and wraparound supportive services are provided to keep them housed. Barrier resolution assistance is also provided after housing is secured.
Located near public transit, safety infrastructure, and services, this facility is a creative, effective, and cost saving solution to homelessness in North Dakota, which climbed 200% from 2013 to 2014.
This four-story, apartment complex includes 42 single-bedroom/bathroom apartment units on the upper three floors. Access is controlled and monitored on-site 24/7. The main floor is dedicated to resident amenities including a community lounge, fitness room, computer lab, laundry, a small commercial kitchen and dining space, as well as administrative space and offices for service providers.
“As a Housing First project, this building helps many suffering from chronic homelessness by solving an incredibly large and time-consuming challenge that many of us never have to think about, ‘where will I sleep tonight?’ By eliminating this, they can work on other life challenges like mental health, addiction, or other illness.”
Funding was provided by HUD which requires strict energy efficiency be incorporated throughout the design inclusive of insulation, water usage, LED lighting, etc. There was also a Green Wall incorporated in the lobby.
The green wall was incorporated as a lobby focal point to bring a living presence to the building year round, even when everything outside is white and frozen. It includes an automated watering and drainage system as well as multiple full spectrum LED lighting fixtures to allow for a minimum maintenance environment. Plantings are strategically arranged to provide a unique visual arrangement, however the individual plants can be replaced or rearranged as desired.