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Steve O'Neil Apartments Break Ground To Fight Homelessness

Updated: 12/10/2013 11:11 PM
Created: 12/10/2013 5:13 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
lstribling@wdio.com

An affordable housing complex broke ground Tuesday morning on Fourth Street in Duluth.

The building will bear Steve O'Neil's name. The late county commissioner worked hard to make the idea a reality.

"I know that Steve would be very happy," O'Neil's wife Angie Miller said. "I feel like he's smiling on this day. I'm trying to be happy as well."

Miller said the groundbreaking was bittersweet. The future housing complex will be called the Steve O'Neil Apartments, in honor of his legacy fighting homelessness.

"I think Steve would be honored," Miller said. "I'm honored and my family is honored."

The groundbreaking Tuesday looked more like snow removal. Organizers broke ground with shovels.

"It's cold out folks," 1 Roof Housing Executive Director Jeff Corey said. "Those who are homeless, this is a tough time of year."

The 44-unit complex will provide low-income housing for homeless families. The focus of the project is providing stability for kids, but it doesn't stop there.

"It's about the parents that are going to have hope," Center City Housing Executive Director Rick Klun said. "It's about the neighborhood that is going to change. It's about Duluth, Minnesota saying homelessness is unacceptable."

A mission Steve O'Neil dedicated his life to. We talked to O'Neil back in April when the Saint Louis County Board approved $250,000 for the emergency shelter at the complex.

"I think for CHUM this is a great step forward," Steve O'Neil said back in April 2013. "It's a great step forward for families who are facing homelessness."

O'Neil also financially supported the project. With the help of the community, Miller said he raised about $90,000 for CHUM's portion of the project.

The complex is set to open in the fall of 2014.

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