Duluth Organization Making Push for New Homeless Housing Option

"I love the space. It and peaceful. It's comfortable. But more importantly to live in here and prove its a viable housing option here in Duluth."

DULUTH, Minn. – “When you’re homeless you start feeling invisible,”AIM Twin Ports Chair, Kassie Standingbear Helgerson says.

“People will turn their heads and look down. They don’t want to see you. If they see you, then they will acknowledge that there’s a problem.”

Back in October of 2020, advocates pitched their tents outside of Duluth city hall to bring a call to action to homelessness in the area.

That’s when Duluth city Council President Renee Van Nett brought out the idea of yurts.

Months later it’s still in the early phases.

But the yurts are inexpensive compared to a new affordable housing building.

For some members of the homeless community the yurt may be a more feasible.

“When you’ve been homeless long term it’s really hard to go from that into an apartment with all those responsibilities and all those people around you,” Helgerson says.

Even though AIM Twin Ports commissioner Kassie Standingbear Helgerson is not homeless herself, she chooses to live in a yurt..

“I love the space. It and peaceful. It’s comfortable. But more importantly to live in here and prove its a viable housing option here in Duluth.”

And with the temporary home, AIM twin ports will also help the homeless with other useful skills to get them back on their feet.

“They just want a home. They just want a place to be safe.”

The Aim Twin Ports Organization has also developed a program for any homeless individual who moves into a temporary yurt making them stick to a strict contract.

The Duluth City council is continuing to discuss the initiative logistics including a location for the buildings so the yurts can all be in one place and not on public property.

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