- Created: Friday, 10 November 2017 06:41
- Written by Laura Proescholdt
West Birch Estates shows the power of partnerships in making affordable housing happen. From community advocates like Victoria Hallin and city leaders like Jolene Foss, to affordable housing sector leaders like Central Minnesota Housing Partnership and Blumentals/ Architecture, Inc. — every voice is essential.
Victoria Hallin has been a leader in her community of Princeton, Minnesota for years. She’s served on the City Council for 14 years, been mayor for four, acted as EDA commissioner for 12 years, and she just started serving on the city planning commission.
“My whole heart and soul is vested in this community,” Hallin said.
But 17 years ago, Hallin had more pressing matters to deal with than building a better Princeton. Her first and only priority was to find a home for herself and her four sons. Hallin had decided to leave her husband, and over the next few months, her life changed drastically.
After Hallin moved out for a summer — a block away from her sons — she discovered that her husband had failed to pay lot rent for their mobile home. He and the boys were evicted. Because Hallin’s name was also on the lot lease, she was barred from renting for a year.
Suddenly, Hallin and her boys were homeless. And finding an apartment they could afford — let alone one that would accommodate four boys — was a major challenge due to Princeton’s shortage of affordable rentals and affordable rentals suitable for families.