New Hibbing shelter providing a ‘Home on the Range’ for homeless

It has common areas, communal kitchens, internet access, and private rooms
New Hibbing shelter providing a ‘Home on the Range’ for homeless
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 6:14 PM CDT|Updated: May. 20, 2023 at 7:26 PM CDT
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HIBBING, MN. (Northern News Now) - On any given day, more than 600 people in St. Louis County don’t have a place to call home.

However, a shelter opening in Hibbing next week is hoping to get people off the streets for good.

“We are having the grand opening for our new Hibbing homeless shelter project,” said Angela Neal, Housing Resource Director for the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency.

That shelter, called Home On The Range, will soon be able to help up to 28 people experiencing homelessness at the same time.

“We’ve hoped for years that we’d be able to find a building that’s big enough to have a larger capacity, to serve homeless individuals where all the services can be right on site,” Neal said.

St. Louis County purchased the building with American Rescue Plan Funds.

Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) will run the shelter.

According to Neal, this new space can give residents a chance to get back on their feet after going through tough times.

“Maybe they have some past rental evictions on their background. Maybe they don’t have the best credit, maybe they have some mental health issues,” Neal said.

The new space has common areas, communal kitchens, internet access, and private rooms.

The rooms at Home On The Range are primarily for single people experiencing homelessness, but they have plans to renovate bigger rooms in a second building big enough to accommodate a family.

“We’re going to put bunk beds, and there’ll be cribs and larger units,” Neal said.

That second building will allow them to almost double their occupancy down the line.

The AEOA has been operating a smaller shelter in Virginia called “Bill’s House” since 1996.

Shawna Boney works with people in that facility to obtain stable housing.

It’s a path she’s traveled herself.

“19 years ago, me and my children were homeless and we utilized Bill’s House for 128 days,” said Boney, now a Homeless and Basic Needs Manager with AEOA.

Her past helps give her insight to help in the present.

“I can guide them because the whole system is so challenging to begin with and even asking for help is a barrier in itself,” Neal said.

The goal of Home On The Range is to provide a temporary home for people until they can find long-term stable housing.

Residents will move in as early as Monday.

For service and donation information for Home On The Range, click here.

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