HUD Programs Help Build "Bill's House,"
To enhance their program and improve dwelling standards for residents, Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Association (AEOA) has constructed a new homeless facility on the 200 block of Third Street North in Virginia, Minnesota. The new facility was built using HUD's Supportive Housing Program and HUD's Community Development Block Grant Funds, provided through St. Louis County. Other money came from state and private sources, which included funding from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, the City of Virginia, the Virginia HRA, and friends and family of Bill Noyes.
The new housing facility replaced an older shelter and is named "Bill's House" in memory of Bill Noyes, an AEOA homeless outreach worker. Bill's House is a 2,700 square foot, one-story, accessible facility designed in the fashion of a single-family residence.
Bill's House is a model of community action and collaboration between local communities, state and federal partners. A community planning group met on a monthly basis during the development, and participants included the Mayor of Virginia, representatives from the Virginia Police Department, St. Louis County Social Services and Housing Redevelopment Authority (HRA), the Virginia HRA, Salvation Army, and Range Women's Advocates.
Homelessness in Northern St. Louis County has many causes. For some families, a fire has destroyed their home. Some people encounter life challenges, which they do not have the resources to overcome, some households are unable to find affordable housing. A majority homeless people served by the agency are area residents. AEOA has been successful in helping many find jobs and move into more permanent housing, through programming provided by on-site staff.