Main Street Grant Stories: The Landing

It’s hard to imagine a place in Rochester where a dollar’s impact can cause more positive ripples than The Landing, 426 3rd Ave SE.

The organization was founded in 2018 to provide direct support to members of the Rochester community experiencing homelessness and has operated some iteration of a day center since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. In November of 2023, The Landing opened its own, independent, privately funded day center. Their center is open daily, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., regardless of weekends, holidays, or weather.

“We figure homelessness doesn’t get a day off, so neither do we,” says Holly Fifield, co-founder of The Landing.

The $200,000 in Main Street grant funding awarded to the organization helped fund part of the renovations necessary to transform the building from pawn shop/auto garage into the clinic/office space/day shelter it is now. That construction, in turn, opened up the doors for new employees.

“Because we were able to open our new data center, we now employ 9 full-time employees and around 12 part-time employees. We have created over 20 jobs,” says Fifield.

That means 20 more people building trust and connection with Rochesterites experiencing homelessness. As trust builds, so does momentum toward stability, which lessens demand on downtown Rochester’s skyways, subways, and leafy oases.

“Coordination is just huge,” says Fifield. “It’s a lot like Mayo Clinic has a multi-specialty, multidisciplinary approach. They bring all the specialties under one roof. Ours is a different application of the same kind of concept; we’re bringing social services and medical care and treatment facilities and peer recovery services and all of those things under one roof so that they’re easily accessible and available to the people that need them.”

The Landing’s central location means barriers to healing stability, like transportation, communication, trust, or distrust, dissipate. The Landing’s day center is a one-stop shop for nutrition, hydration, free laundry, shower facilities, on-site medical care, and social services. It’s a place for members of the community experiencing homelessness to rest, decompress, and recover from the often minute-to-minute stresses of homelessness. The services also allow guests to move toward wellness and stability.

“They’re in a place that they know and trust with people that they know and trust in the services are right here. It’s not, ‘Let me make an appointment for you next Tuesday, somewhere else with somebody you don’t know…’,” says Fifield.

With over 50% of The Landing’s annual budget coming from public donations, the organization feels a constant tide of gratitude toward the Rochester community. Still, according to Fifield, The Landing’s biggest challenge since 2020 has been misunderstandings and misperceptions around the issue of homelessness. She encourages people to come and tour the center, to ask questions, to invite The Landing to speak at group events.

“The downtown in the business district of Rochester is a wonderful resource and area for all the members of our community. And that includes the members of our community experiencing homelessness. They are our friends, our neighbors, our brothers, our sisters, our sons, our daughters. They are members of our community, and they are needing us to link arms with them and hold them up during this very difficult time of their lives,” says Fifield.