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Can you imagine struggling with chemical addiction and needing a safe place to live with a little one? That was the situation for Heather and her 2-year-old daughter, Lila. Now, thanks to the Housing First Minnesota Foundation/HomeAid Twin Cities and build partners Mega Remodel and Cardinal Remodeling, Heather and her daughter have a place to live as she enters Avivo’s Family Recovery program to receive the support and housing needed to thrive.
Avivo is one of a few chemical abuse treatment facilities in Minnesota that offers programming to women with children and allows the child to live on the premises while the mother receives support and undergoes treatment.
“I really value what Avivo does for the local communities that are in need,” said Meg Jaeger, owner of Mega Remodel. “As a part of the housing industry, I really wanted to use my skills and talents to do something like this for those in need. But being a small remodeler, I was hesitant about how much I could take on.”
That’s when Mega Remodel partnered with Cardinal Remodeling to split their resources and get to work. Partnership makes these essential projects possible.
“The ability to work with another company and complete this project was huge,” said Tom Wiener, owner of Cardinal Remodeling. “We both were able to do our part with our subcontractors and rely on each other.”
The basement space once used for storage was transformed into a beautiful two-bedroom apartment where mothers can heal and nurture their children. It was a complete overhaul. The team took out everything and broke into a storage space to redefine the floor plan.
“When we first looked at the project, it clearly needed a full rehab, but as we moved along and got through the demo, it was clearer how much more work needed to be done,” explained Jaeger.
The team was able to quickly pivot when they ran into surprises throughout the remodel, revamping their plans as they went. When all was said and done, the apartment unit was unrecognizable with all new windows, mechanicals, insulation, sheetrock, trim, doors, cabinetry, countertops, lighting, and flooring – the list goes on and on.
“We think it is important to help others that may be in need in our community. The end product was what made this projectso special—to see the before and after and know what we have done will make an impact,” said Wiener. “It was especially heartening to hear the words of the Minneapolis building inspector after the final inspection, as he said how great the job had turned out and that this helped to restore his faith in mankind.”
The housing created through this project increases Avivo’s shelter capacity, allowing them to serve even more women and children.
“I’m going to use [my time] while I’m here as a stepping-stone to getting back into working, independence, and being a successful mom for Lila. It’s ideal to have a place like this,” said Heather at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for her new apartment. “This is amazing. I couldn’t dream of something like this.”