66 West Celebrates 11 Months!

11 months after openings its doors to residents, we are pleased to celebrate 66 West successes with this update from Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative.  Save the date for a tour on Sunday, April 22th at 1pm and a longer 66 West update during the Sunday Forum on Sunday, May 6th.

Some information on the first residents of 66 West:

  • All were homeless before moving into 66 West.
  • More than half were without a stable home for more than a year
  • 2/3 are from the western suburbs
  • About 50% identify as male and 50% identify as female
  • 20% identify as LGBTQ
  • ¾ identify as people of color
  • After 6 months of residency, nearly all are working and/or in school
  • 80% remained as residents at the end of 2017
  • Resident surveys indicates they feel safe at 66 West and believe the building is well maintained

With feedback from residents, 66 West staff help facilitate community activities including: hosting a monthly community meal, launching a community council of residents, and organizing life skills groups.  Advocates also engage the broader community, including: Southdale Library set up a mini-library on-site; Fairview Hospital hosted an employment and job shadowing workshop; and a peer mediation program partner has helped residents adjust to living in community. A new meditation room is now available for all residents at their request.

It’s exciting to see young people move from surviving to thriving. One of the 66 West youth, Kira,* is completing course work to earn a Food and Beverage Management Certificate at Normandale Community College while also maintaining employment at Cub Foods. She’s investing in her career. Another resident, Jose, just bought a car. He is making on-time payments and successfully maintaining his auto insurance. For Lexi, living at 66 West has given her the support she needs to begin college. She is in the middle of her first semester and working part time at the Southdale YMCA.  (*names have been changed.)

Thank you, ECLC, for your vision that includes all as part of God’s beloved community and seeks dignity and justice through supportive housing for our neighbors.