‘National Salvation Army Week’ stories series, Part IV: Shelter and Housing

May 16, 2024

National Salvation Army Week is May 13–19. To celebrate, The Salvation Army Northern Division is publishing stories about some of our most important services to illustrate how your donations and volunteer work are helping us Do the Most Good for people and families in Minnesota and North Dakota. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has joined the celebration by officially declaring this week as Salvation Army Week in Minnesota (read the proclamation).     

Thanks to your gifts, people who are experiencing homelessness don’t have to spend another night on the streets.   

On any given night, The Salvation Army Northern Division provides shelter and housing for about 900 men, women and children. We operate 34 facilities that provide three main types of housing services: emergency, transitional, and permanent-supportive, all of which include steadfast support from trained Salvation Army case managers. 

Here’s a closer look at each housing type:

Emergency housing (405 beds) includes safe shelter spaces that provide people and families with a warm bed and nutritious food. 

Our largest such facility, The Salvation Army Harbor Light Center in Minneapolis, provides shelter for more than 200 people every night, along with food, clothing, medical services, spiritual outreach, and other critical support.  

Not long ago, the Harbor Light Center saved a Twin Cities woman named Debra (pictured) from homelessness. She’d lost everything after a string of tragic events, including divorce, medical problems, and loaning money to family members who never paid it back. (Read Debra’s story.) 

Debra stayed at the Harbor Light Center for several months and got her life back on track. Today she has her own apartment and has recovered from her medical problems. 

“I have never felt more at home than I did at the Harbor Light Center – it was an amazing experience,” Debra said. 

Transitional housing (225 units) includes up to two years of free or subsidized housing for low-income individuals and families, homeless veterans, and those in recovery.

These facilities help people like Tom (pictured), who needed help after he was released from addiction treatment. He moved into The Salvation Army’s ‘Pathway Forward Home’ in Fridley and received an affordable place to live so that he could focus on his goals. 

Tom’s goals included staying sober, reducing his debt, catching up on paying child support for his young son, and being financially secure enough to live on his own. 

“I’m thankful for this place, and I like that there is a case manager here all the time,” Tom said. “My mantra is: Another day sober is another step in the right direction.” (Learn more about the Pathway Forward home.)

Permanent supportive housing (383 units) includes free or affordable permanent housing for individuals, seniors, veterans, those with disabilities, and others.  

Salvation Army Booth Manor, for example, is a 21-story apartment complex in Minneapolis for single adults ages 62 and older. Each of the facility’s 157 units includes a bedroom, kitchen, living area, and bathroom. 

The facility is a godsend to people like Orlando (pictured), 85, who recently moved in after spending two years living on the streets. He became homeless after he was hospitalized for diabetes complications, losing his job of nearly 20 years and draining his savings account.  

Orlando is one of 100 Booth Manor residents who qualify to pay rent on a sliding scale, allowing him to keep two-thirds of his social security checks for food, medications and other essentials. If not for this facility, he would have a hard time finding an affordable place to live. 

“After two years on the streets, this place is a miracle for me,” Orlando said. (Learn more about Orlando.)

In addition to our shelter and housing facilities, The Salvation Army helps hundreds of Minnesota and North Dakota residents secure private housing by facilitating government financial assistance programs.  

Help Celebrate National Salvation Army Week by giving a donation or signing up to volunteer

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