In Short Order, Volunteers Convert Former Anoka Asylum Building into Veteran Housing

December 12, 2017 05:42 PM

Homeless veterans have a new safe place to live in Anoka County.  

Volunteers have turned a building at the old Anoka State Hospital – before that the Anoka Asylum – into housing for veterans. And they did it in short order. In the past few months $350,000, was raised for the project and 400 volunteers helped renovate the building. 


RELATED: Anoka Wants to Turn Former Asylum Buildings into Housing for Homeless Vets

"It's unbelievable," said Bart Ward with the Anoka Heritage Preservation Commission. "We're talking 60-some days ago this building was in really, really rough shape. I don't care where you came from, who you are, what church you go to, who you voted for; people have been coming to this place and working together to give back to this community of veterans who frankly have given their lives for this country."

Former Navy sailor Robert Larson is one of the first veterans to move into the home. 

"I'm grateful for being here," Larson said. "I'm not on the street. I'm not wondering where my food or clothing is going to come from. All I can say is thank you to the Anoka community."

Organizers hope to have 30 veterans living at the home, which will be operated by the nonprofit Eagles Healing Nest. Volunteers are working to open three more buildings on the old State Hospital campus, including a home for homeless women veterans.


Joe Mazan

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