Aeon: celebrating 30 years of helping residents create Home
March 2, 2016
The 4,500 people who live in Aeon homes each year are at the heart of Aeon’s work. In celebration of Aeon’s 30th anniversary, we connected with a resident who recently reached his own milestone. Meet Tony von Krag: a Coyle resident, dual doctoral degree holder, disabled Air Force veteran, and grandfather of four. Learn why Tony has chosen to be part of the Aeon community for 20 years.
How did you first hear about Aeon?
I experienced some trauma in 1994 and wound up homeless and lived on the streets for about a year. I kept looking for a housing solution. I scraped together the money for a pager, so then I had a phone number. That ultimately allowed me to get a job, and then I learned about Aeon properties as places for someone who was homeless to get a foothold. I put in an application, and Aeon paged me. I filled out the paperwork and moved in. This living situation allowed me to retain my dignity and continue working on my health.
Why have you chosen to stay in an Aeon home?
Project-based Section 8 housing has been a great boon to me since I’m disabled. And if you’re willing to reach out to the Aeon management, they’re more than willing to help and support you. I’ve received some good support from them over the years. Some other reasons include the very affordable rent, which is important for my fixed income, and the convenient location for getting to the interstates and downtown. Also, residents are usually very quiet and kind to each other — that’s important to me because I’m not interested in any drama!
Are there events at the Coyle in which you participate?
Aeon’s Resident Connections sets up quarterly meals and get-togethers at the Coyle. As residents, we really hope that the services provided by Resident Connections continue. I’ve been volunteering here in the building for many years to help enhance the quality of life for others. Katie Hillesheim, our former site manager (and current site manager for Aeon’s Clover Field Marketplace and The Landing in Chaska), did so much good for this building. It was such a smoothly run operation and we had some great gatherings. For many years I helped cook a lot of the food for the Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, BBQs and other events.
Do you have any favorite memories from your time at the Coyle?
Our back patio got re-done by an Aeon volunteer group from Cummins, and that has been a great place to sit in the afternoon to enjoy the fresh air and ambience. We also have volunteer community gardens nearby. Thinking back over my time here, I absolutely love sitting in my kitchen window with my feet up on the window sill – my cat would sit on my lap and we’d enjoy the breeze while watching the gardens grow and the evening lights of downtown.
Do you have suggestions for Aeon’s next 30 years?
I would love to see Aeon reach out to existing residents so we can be mentors to the residents of other Aeon properties, including the youth. Aeon’s homeless youth properties. Some of the youth I’ve mentored have never had a home cooked meal. I’ve cooked professionally and I love to teach people how to cook. I could also help them learn life skills such as managing money and shopping for groceries while on a budget.