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Housing is a foundation to build a better life
April 1, 2015

By Kurt Keena | I was attracted to Beacon because of the work they (now, we) are doing in the supportive housing portion of the larger affordable housing spectrum. I'd like to share a few thoughts about why supportive housing makes a difference and why the Beacon model is effective.

Affordable housing isn’t easy to produce. This is partly because it requires bringing numerous public and private funding sources together. There is no single source of funds that can get the job done.

Then there is the task of location. To find suitable sites and gain all the necessary public approvals is often arduous – and at times contentious. When you take this a step further and want to produce affordable, supportive housing to serve some very high-need populations, the resources and effort required are multiplied.

Beacon has developed a unique model of engaging the community through collaborations with local congregations that lay the groundwork and build support for these critically needed supportive housing developments.

While the Beacon model adds time and complexity at the beginning of the process, I believe that it ultimately results in a better end product — and therefore better outcomes for the people who will live in our housing.

I am pleased to have this opportunity to leverage my 25 years of affordable housing experience within the Beacon collaborative, not only to help Beacon advance its cause but also to feel as though I am personally able to have an impact in the community. In the end, it is nice to build new buildings but what is truly satisfying is to know that one has played a small role in making a positive impact on the lives of others. 

I view stable, safe, affordable housing as a foundation upon which people are able to build a better life for themselves and their children. If you have your basic need for shelter met, your time and energy are freed to concentrate on meeting your other needs and to improve your overall situation.

It feels good to work with other dedicated staff and volunteer leaders in an organization that helps people do that.


Kurt Keena
Kurt is Beacon's new director of housing operations. He comes to Beacon with over 25 years of experience in the affordable housing industry including with several high-capacity housing providers in the Twin Cities metro area as well as in greater Minnesota.