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Hayward youth home that serves Austin avoids eviction

Published 11:14am Thursday, April 18, 2013

HAYWARD — The agency that runs a youth home west of Hayward has struck a deal with a bank and avoided eviction.

“We are not leaving. We just had a little trouble with the bank,” said Richard Gardell, CEO of Minneapolis-based 180 Degrees, a 40-year-old nonprofit agency that runs group homes in St. Cloud, St. Paul and Minneapolis, as well as the one near Hayward. Its website is 180degrees.org.

An agency called Sheriffs Youth Program owned and operated the Hayward Group Home but fell into financial trouble. In December 2011, 180 Degrees took over operation of the home with the understanding Sheriffs Youth Program would resolve the financial difficulties.

Gardell said that didn’t pan out, and the 180 Degrees staff assumed Key Community Bank of Inver Grove Heights would talk to them about taking over the mortgage. Instead, the bank sent an eviction notice.

The nonprofit explored alternatives, Gardell said, such as finding a new location. It also negotiated with the bank, hoping it would understand the mission of serving the youth who stay at the home and how it aids the surrounding community. Gardell said the bank didn’t budge.

In the end, 180 Degrees agreed to purchase the property from Key Community Bank at a price higher than the tax-assessed value, he said. The organization decided to take the expense, despite the difficult situation, because it is dedicated to serving the community, he said.

“We will be here for the long term,” Gardell said. “We said we are committed to the area.”

The Hayward Group Home has 12 beds, serves boys and girls usually in their teen years and sees about 100 clients come through each year. They range from teens kicked out of their homes to children awaiting a foster families to kids who desire structure to resolve truancy problems.

They come from anywhere in southern Minnesota but mainly Austin and Albert Lea, Gardell said. Referrals primarily come through the state and local human services departments, corrections officials and child protection agencies.

The home has 11 full-time employees, he said.

He said 180 Degrees intends to make renovations on the property.

The Herald has withheld the address of the Hayward Group Home from publication for the sake of the youth who stay there in emergency situations.


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