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Published May 07 2010

Cooper House is home

Joe Baglietto said he was overwhelmed after seeing his future residence for the first time Thursday during the grand opening of Cooper House in north Fargo.

“It’s awesome. It’s incredible,” Baglietto said of the fully furnished apartment he’ll be moving into in less than two weeks. “All the way around, it helps my situation in every aspect.”

City officials hope the $3.8 million complex at 414 11th St. is a step in breaking the cycle of chronic homelessness in Fargo.

A 2006 survey found 600 people are homeless on any given night in the city; about a third of them are chronically homeless, officials have said.

Cooper House follows the “housing first” model, which Fargo officials adopted from other examples nationwide. The model focuses on providing secure housing and then additional services to help individuals attain greater stability in their lives.

Cooper House consists of 11 one-bedroom and 32 efficiency apartments that have been fully furnished through donations from about 50 individuals and organizations.

Baglietto called Cooper House’s north Fargo location “perfect.”

“You’ve got everything close by that you’d possibly need,” he said, citing the nearby grocery stores, employment offices and medical facilities. “You couldn’t get any better.”

Forum photo editor Michael Vosburg contributed to this report.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541