In their beginnings, Aeon saw a large contingent of homeless and nearly homeless people in the Twin Cities that was growing every year, while subsidized and low income housing options were shrinking. This opportunity led them to try and create more housing for the low- and very-low income housing population of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
The Twin Cities have always been known for being very livable cities with lots of amenities for residents, but it has a long way to go to be livable for low-income households. Many options for affordable and low income housing are rapidly being improved or demolished, leaving a large disparity for those seeking that housing.
When Aeon reached out to the public as a part of a study to improve their services, they sought to find out what home meant to the very people they offered housing to. They wanted to be able to better provide a place they could call home. The results of that survey surprised them and helped to guide the future of the organization. They learned that despite their best efforts, they couldn’t provide a home, rather they could provide the platform that their clients could use to create a home.
The things that made places a home were emotional connections and the presence of family, things that Aeon could never provide, no matter how they tried. This realization drove them to focus on providing the things that would allow their clients to achieve success and build a home with their family. They changed their perspective on the services that they offered, seeing that even though they might not be able to provide everything that makes a place home, they were still providing more than just buildings, they were making home possible.
So what’s next for Aeon? After 30 years improving the landscape of affordable housing in the Twin Cities they have their eyes on continued growth in the near future from where they are now with 40 apartment homes serving over 4,500 people. When asked about their ten year plan they bring up their “100 year plan” for growth, signs that although they have accomplished so much good in the last 30 years, they have their eyes on the sky for the next 70 at least.
Learn more about Aeon at aeon.org
Photo credit: facebook.com/AeonMN