Student housing houses more than students

Housing program at Dinnaken and Argyle gives patients a place to live at a reduced rate

Student housing isn’t only for students.

Dinnaken Properties , which owns Dinnaken and Argyle Houses, takes part in a program that allows University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview patients, most of whom are undergoing transplants or treatments, live in the apartments at a reduced rate. The program, which started in 1990, houses both patients and their families.

“It meets a need,” Yvonne Grosulak, vice president of Dinnaken Properties, said. “For the patient and the family it’s good because it’s like being in an apartment building.”

Dinnaken Properties are 89 percent student-rented, with only 22 of the 205 units reserved for patients or patients and their families.

Dinnaken rents the units to Fairview for about $200 less than normal rent per month, and in turn rents the apartments to the patients. Patients stay in the apartment for as long as their treatments or recovery last. The stay can vary from two weeks to over a year, Grosulak said.

John George , Fairview’s liaison with Dinnaken, said the program is not open to the public, and patients have to meet “certain criteria” and go through “strict assessment” to qualify for the program.

George said the program creates a comfortable environment for the patients.

“When (patients) come on a long-term basis, they would like to have more of a home-type atmosphere,” George said. “It’s one less worry they would have.”

Cassie Shaver , who lived in Argyle alongside patients, said the program had merits.

“In terms of money and convenience and finding someplace they can call home that’s close to the hospital, it’s really cool,” she said. “I don’t know any other apartments around that do that, so it’s kind of special that Argyle is willing to open its doors to them.”

The Hospital Program was created by James Cargill , Dinnaken’s late owner, Grosulak said. “(He) wanted this program to happen, and that’s kind of how it started,” she said.

Students on the same floor as patients are told to be quiet for the patients.

“In terms of rowdiness, the first floor was really calm, just out of respect,” Shaver said.

Jason Bergeron lived on the first floor in Argyle for a semester, and said that community advisers would make rounds and knock on doors if residents were being noisy.

“One major complaint I had was that the first floor was eerily quiet,” he said.