“Can’t you just hear children’s laughter up here?”
“Can you imagine people playing games and being social here?”
Those who accompanied Audrey Moen on a grand opening tour of Beacon Hill this Wednesday were treated to encouraging portraits of the dream for the new supportive housing development in Grand Rapids.
Moen is Housing Manager with Northland Counseling Center and one of several members of the Itasca County Housing Institute Team who took action to address local housing needs.
When a study by the Wilder Foundation found that homelessness increased in Itasca County by 22 percent in three years, the Housing Institute Team initiated a housing study and established a goal to develop permanent supportive housing opportunities.
The local team members involved in this project include Becky Lauer with Itasca County Health and Human Services, Diane Larson and Amanda MacDonell with Itasca County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (ICHRA), Isaac Meyer and Dana Herschbach with Kootasca Community Action, Victor Moen with the Minnesota Department of Corrections, Jason Anderson with Itasca County Probation, Ron Oleheiser with GRACE House homeless shelter and Audrey Moen of Northland Counseling Center. The unique collaboration was a significant reason Beacon Hill was approved by the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund to receive state housing infrastructure bonds to make the $9.4 million project a reality.
After dozens upon dozens of meetings, several mandated trainings held throughout northern Minnesota and careful planning, the team accomplished an amazing goal in the construction of Beacon Hill, a 48-unit affordable rental housing development that officially opened to occupants Aug. 1, 2016.