Woman shares positive impact Steve O' Neil Apartments has had on her family

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: October 16, 2020 08:39 PM

The Steve O' Neil apartments are a sanctuary to families who have experienced homelessness. It's a place families go to get a second chance in life for a better future.


A bright example of that is Shaminita Tims, who has been able to get back up on her feet since moving to Steve O' Neil.

"I actually was homeless for three years prior to coming to Duluth with my children, which I now have six. We were a flee domestic situation," said Tims.

Tims said the Steve O' Neil apartments have been a blessing for her family. Giving them shelter, safety, and stability.

It has been a big support to her as a single working mother with the programming they have there like the infant, toddler and school programs her kids are in.

"My kids have grown tremendously in the programming coming from the things that they have already been through in life. They have learned speech it has come along just through the programming. They've even learned shapes and things like that. My twins started off in Pampers in that program and now they'll be six so they've learned a lot," said Tims.

"These children have known what it is like to live on a street so with the trauma impacted lives that they've come from they need regulatory skills. In the programming we're really focusing on the social, emotional, health as well as academic health," said Amy Swensen, the services coordinator for Steve O' Neil.

Especially during COVID-19, it has given kids a sense of normalcy in a time that isn't.

"We do our best to be there for them and make it feel like they know that we are here for them and we are supporting them," said Emma McClaren, a Steve O' Neil after school program instructor.

Also, thanks to community generosity, all the families at Steve O' Neil were given laptops and wifi was installed in the building too over the summer. These are crucial tools to have during COVID-19 with everything going virtual.

"We feel that we are bridging that gap and interrupting that isolation that really affects individuals who live in poverty," said Swensen.

"It did give us more of a wider range to do things that we need to do especially for us who are going to school online and just being able to access or hook up our devices to the wifi," said Tims.

After four years at Steve O' Neil, Tims is now is in the process of moving into a house with her kids.

"I took this experience and got into a place where I can finally branch off and do things on my own," said Tims.

Looking forward to the future ahead, Tims leaves with a grateful heart and happy to open an opportunity to another family to move in and change their path like she did.

"There is hope. If we can do it, I just want to tell everyone that you guys too you can get through it too and there is hope," said Tims.


Alejandra Palacios

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