Ahmed and Hassan’s Story
Ahmed, 66, and Hassan, 55, met while living at an Aeon property. Coincidentally, they both moved to the United States in 2014 after living at the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya for over twenty years. Although they had never met during their time in Kenya, the two have become familiar faces in the last few years.
Each have had their own struggles since leaving their home country of Somalia. Ahmed was placed in a small town in Illinois, where very few Somali people lived. After a short while, he fell ill and spent almost a month in the hospital. He had friends in the Twin Cities who agreed to help take care of him, and they drove down to Illinois to pick him up.
Hassan had a somewhat similar experience. He was placed in rural Iowa, in a town that had received a small community of Somali immigrants. Along with the other members of his community, Hassan worked at a meat packaging plant in town for about a year. But he also got very sick and learned that he had colon cancer. Like Ahmed, Hassan decided to move to the Twin Cities, where there was a larger Somali community. He would also have better access to healthcare and other services.
After moving to Minnesota, both men began to look for more permanent housing. In the midst of health treatments, neither of them were able to work. Many apartments were too expensive for them, and they needed a different option. They were also still learning English, and they struggled to understand the steps of the application processes.
Eventually, they both found housing through Aeon and were able to gain some stability. Both men began attending English language classes and tutoring centers. Over time, they gained confidence in this new place.
But when the COVID-19 pandemic began, the men had to pivot once again. “Life changed, big time,” Ahmed describes. “It became very hard.” Thankfully, they have had the support of Amran, an Aeon Resident Connections staff person. Amran has provided regular support to residents throughout the pandemic. Like many of their neighbors, Ahmed and Hassan needed help with their applications for electric assistance. She helped with the language barrier and worked with them to complete the process. She also connected others in the building with rent assistance and food shelves.
Since 2020, almost every resident at the properties Amran serves has worked with her to access some form of help. In the midst of a global pandemic, Amran’s presence at the buildings has been integral to the residents’ stability. “I can say that this person is a part of my family, because she helps me with things I can’t do myself… because of the language barrier,” Ahmed describes.
Amran’s involvement and dedication has made a great impact on Ahmed, Hassan, and their neighbors. “Without a home, there’s no life,” Hassan explains. “It was very important to have someone that I can just come down and talk to [during such hard times],” Hassan explains.
The Resident Connections work Amran does alongside residents like Ahmed and Hassan is available thanks to generous supporters like you. Thank you for continuing to make this work possible.