Park7 Photos

How to be the best Advocate

Tips from staff to us be the best supporters and advocates

  • Treat all people with dignity and respect. Remember that all of us are someone’s baby girl or boy and that the behaviors we display are not the result of poor choices or low moral character but rather the survival response to the environment that we were born into and brought up through.
  • The only way for someone to overcome a traumatic upbringing is through providing a consistently supportive and nurturing environment.
  • Be trauma informed!
  • People with substance use disorder or mental illness are not crazy or evil- They’re people!
  • Continue to care and support people by changing the language about them. It is not “us vs them”, it is just “us” all together and messy. We all have issues and shortcomings, some are just more visual or impairing than others.
  • I have found in my experience, being a supporter of someone with mental and/or substance use issues can go both ways-poorly; if there is no understanding, compassion, empathy, and boundaries, or beautifully; if there is understanding, compassion, boundaries, empathy and humor!
  • Educating oneself on substance abuse and mental illness will create a foundation of knowledge. Understanding that both mental illness and substance abuse conjointly affect the individual. Then, that is when individuals can actively be able to listen, utilize appropriate terms and languages, imbed research, and create an advocacy plan of action to identify the opposition, challenges and any resistance that might unfold to improve upon areas of concern.
  • Additionally, individuals can be assertive yet empathetic, be enthusiastic and compassionate, and be adaptable to different perspectives and stories.
  • Lastly, providing resources to help individuals that are living, and actively facing the co occurring disorders of substance abuse and mental illness so that they are able to lead a better quality of life.
  • As a community we are well equipped to enable these individuals to improve their quality of lives, and should do whatever it takes collectively provide resources through different channels to provide them the help they need to alleviate poverty within the community that’s driven by both substance abuse and mental illness, all too often poverty is an association either directly or indirectly to a magnitude of mental illness and or substance abuse.

In His Own Words: Wendell’s Story

Below is a story of recovery and success told by one of our clients. After living with us, Wendell found motivation and success. He’s now attending school to earn his masters degree. He volunteers here with us, both in the Food Centre and in our housing building giving haircuts to residents who need them.
This success story happened because of YOU. Your support and advocacy for our clients and their journeys is what makes the life-saving work possible. We’re so glad you’re on Wendell’s team.

It’s been a long journey and House of Charity has really changed my life. The staff really gave me a lot of support and hope when I was a resident.
I come back to volunteer because of the possibility that I could potentially impact one person’s life in a positive way.
In 2010, my substance abuse and mental concerns prevented a great opportunity in the military. In denial, I started a business and failed. I was mentoring kids, volunteering, helping within the community and failed to address my personal issues. I let everyone down and lost my family, new house, new truck and new dog.
In 2017, I made my way here to Minnesota from Puerto Rico. House of Charity gave me a place to stay and a warm meal when my finances were depleted. The U.S. Veterans Affairs services here in Minnesota really helped me put my life somewhat together again. I’ve had bad experiences at different places which makes it difficult to trust healthcare providers.
All in all, Minnesota has been good to me. I’m just trying to give back as much as possible. I hope to inspire others as some great leaders have inspired me.
Currently, I have been accepted into the Hamline School of Business in pursuit of a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Public Administration. My current GPA with the previous university’s MBA program is a 4.0.
In addition, I am working with the Department of Veterans Affairs and St. Cloud Small Business Administration to open up All American Barbers and Massage. Due to my hardships and life experiences, I plan to incorporate corporate social responsibility in my business entity.
To conclude, I thank God for making me a better man today than I was yesterday. I humbly pray that he makes me a better man tomorrow than I am today.

Wendell was hesitant to share his story but the difference that House of Charity made in his life can’t be ignored. You made his success and vision possible.

Volunteer Highlight: Clara

A few months ago, we had the chance to chat with Clara, a 7-year-old who is one of the most compassionate and generous people we’ve ever met.
Her birthday party was in February and instead of asking for gifts, she requested that donations for House of Charity be brought. She and her guests also assembled care kits to be handed out to our homeless neighbors.
When asked why she chose to do this, Clara and her mom talked about how this isn’t the first birthday party that has been focused on giving; Clara has always been curious about and compassionate towards the homeless individuals she sees on the street and is always excited to give them one of the kits they keep in their car.
Clara’s birthday party raised $160 and she donated it all to House of Charity.
Her current goal is to meet the Mayor. Her family is building a new house and she wants their old house to become a place to house our homeless neighbors. And Clara wants to talk to Mayor Frey about making that happen.
If this is what our future looks like, we’re in good hands.

Self-Care and Mindfulness: Favorite practices and tips from our staff

Self-care and mindfulness are vitally important parts of not only recovery but living a healthy life.
Our staff knows that and works to not only have practices to stay healthy themselves but to also equip our clients with the tools they need to be healthy as well.
Below are self-care and mindfulness tips and practices from our House of Charity staff!
I try to make my surroundings as cozy and pleasing to the senses as possible. This includes having items in my spaces that are meaningful, colorful, and calming. I also like to include some of the elements in my area: plants and rocks from the earth, a diffuser to provide calming scents in the air, the sounds of water and nature playing on my Pandora.
Sitting and staring at the sky
Go to a concert and listen to live music; do some dancing. A lot of live music is free! And dancing can always be free.
Mindfulness breathing. Breathing in through the nose for 5 seconds from the diaphragm and then blowing out through the mouth. I set a reminder on my phone to make sure I do this regularly.
Support groups
Five minutes of watching myself breathe slowly is the best thing I do for myself everyday, except sleep. Sleep is the best.
When we are trauma informed, we are able to have healthy boundaries, and do not internalize other’s behavior; hence reducing our stress. Understanding that everyone is doing the best they can, in their specific circumstances reduces judgement, and prevents us from putting our expectations on others.
Listening to music or comedy shows
Mindfull exercise that is focused on the time you are exercising rather than finishing the exercise teaches present awareness just as well as seated meditation in the fanciest meditation center money can buy.

What are your go-to self-care and mindfulness practices for when you are feeling stressed or worn out?

A Note from Charlie: Recovery at Day by Day

Charlie has been a part of the Day by Day team for over two years. In that time, he has had an impact on countless lives as he’s walked with our clients through recovery and empowered them to start new lives with new independence.

Our Day by Day Program has been slowly transitioning to an ever more person-centered system of treatment in which each person has an individual responsibility for
determining their own self-care and what recovery looks like for him/herself.
This concept is reflected in House of Charity’s mission of empowering individuals to achieve independence by
transforming lives, one person at a time.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines recovery as:
“A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”

The cornerstones of a recovery journey include: having a safe home; having stable health,
participating in a supportive community; and being directed by one’s own sense of
Services designed to help one on their journey to recovery are more likely to succeed when they take into account the ten guiding principles set out by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

  • These principles assert that:
  • Recovery emerges from hope
  • Recovery occurs via many pathways
  • Recovery is holistic
  • It is supported by peers and allies
  • Recovery is culturally based
  • It is supported by addressing trauma
  • Recovery involves family and community Recovery is borne from the individual’s strengths and sustained by their taking on personal responsibilities
  • Recovery is person-driven

At Day by Day we recognize that building a new life free from the harm brought about by
substance use and homelessness takes time, benefits from loads of support, and requires that we learn new coping skills that can replace the unhelpful skills we developed while we were using.

Recovery means striving towards wellness, going beyond simply reducing the direct harm that comes in the wake of our substance use. It is a process or journey, with many
beginnings and will continue as we each move forward and reach for our full potential.

Look at our Progress!

On August 15th, demolition on the Finance and Commerce building started! We’ve watched with excitement as the building disappeared, the lot has been leveled and marking for the foundation of our Park7 building started. We can’t wait to watch the building go up and we want you on this journey with us. We take pictures of the project almost every day.
We’re excited to start this project to better serve our neighbors in need. To keep up-to-date on all things construction related, keep an eye on our website here:

The Heart of the City Club

Since our beginning in 1953, we have had supporters who faithfully give every month, without hesitation, because they believe in the individuals House of Charity serves.
It probably took us too long, but we have finally given that group of MVPs a name: the Heart of the City Club. We have always considered our programs and facilities to be the heart of the city but the true heart of the city is our dedicated and passionate supporters and advocates. You make it possible to feed 300 meals a day in our Food Centre. You make it possible to give a warm and safe place to live to more than 100 men and women. You are the reason that hundreds of individuals are regaining freedom and independence from substance abuse and mental illness.
If you are not already a monthly giver, will you join the Heart of the City Club? We’ll send you exclusive quarterly updates but more important than that, your regular support will allow our clients and residents to dream bigger and achieve more.
BONUS: Because of a gift from the Otto Bremer Foundation, every gift you give as a new recurring donor will be doubled for the rest of the year!

Important Upcoming events

We have two important events coming that we want you to be a part of. Read on below to get all the details and find out how you can get involved.

The Walk to End Hunger
This Thanksgiving, join us at the Mall of America to help end hunger in Minnesota. This is our second year participating in the Walk to End Hunger and we had so much fun last year that we want to make sure you join us!
Date: November 28th, 2019
Time: 7:30-9:30am

Client Holiday Party
Every year, we host a holiday dinner for our clients. This dinner is complete with tablecloths, decorations and waiters (our staff and board). Our clients look forward to it every year (and we do too). If you’d like to be part of this special night, you can sign up to help in our volunteer portal. We’d love you have you there!
Date: December 18th, 2019
Time: 5-6pm
Sign up:

House of Charity Names Deborah F. Moses CEO/Executive Director

The House of Charity Board of Directors has named experienced nonprofit leader Deborah F. Moses, DPA, MPH, as the new Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the agency whose mission is to feed those in need, house those experiencing homelessness, and empower individuals to achieve independence. Moses will assume the leadership post effective December 10, 2018.

“For nearly 30 years, Deb Moses has worked within communities experiencing poverty and a vast array of disparities,” stated Wendy Wehr, president of the House of Charity board of directors. “She is a proven leader in creating systems that allow individuals and families to reach their full potential.”

Moses has served in numerous executive leadership positions at nonprofit social service agencies, as well as in key posts with the Minnesota Department of Human Services, where she managed large programs and shaped public policy. She has overseen budgets up to $110 million, has actively raised program and capital revenue, has improved service delivery, and has managed multiple programs and facilities within complex regulatory environments.

Moses holds a doctorate in public administration from Hamline University and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a master’s degree in public health. In addition, she has a chemical dependency counseling certificate and advanced credentials in health service administration. She also serves as adjunct faculty at Metro State University in the Co-Occurring Disorders Master’s Program and at St. Mary’s University in the School of Public Health.

Moses is a lifelong resident of the Twin Cities, currently residing in south Minneapolis. She has three adult children and two grandchildren who are the joys of her life. She enjoys bike riding throughout the Cities, hot yoga, reading, knitting, and traveling.

Overcoming Obstacles: Angelo’s Story

“Is that my grandpa?”

Every time his grandson sees a man that looks a little like Angelo, he asks his mom if it’s him.

It’s been several years since Angelo and his grandson have seen each other.

Those years have been tough.

Since struggling with addiction, losing his home and being incarcerated, Angelo has seen a lot of hardship in the last few years.

And sometimes it feels like he’s still in the middle of it. But Angelo refuses to lose hope or give up on his goals.

That’s a common theme with our clients. Their hope for the future, their goals for what’s next.

Our client advocates and treatment counselors help our clients dream again.

On January 22 of this year, Angelo was released from jail. He came to House of Charity and received a bed and a spot in our Day by Day treatment program.

Since then, he has completed the program and is in recovery.

But now it feels like his progress has stalled.

Angelo thought that by now he would have moved out of House of Charity and have his own apartment.

It’s been especially hard since so many people around him are moving to their own places.

“I have a problem seeing people come and then leave and get their own housing and it leaves me feeling some kind of way because I’ve met all the criteria that needs to be met in order to get my housing and there’s always obstacles; there’s always something that pushes me back and it’s kind of hard for me to be glad for those people.”

But Angelo knows that he’ll get there.

“There’s so much that I want but I know I’m not going to get it all at one time so I just have to lay back and deal with it one step at a time.”

Recovery, housing, freedom, family. Those are Angelo’s biggest goals.

As soon as he got out of prison, Angelo knew that the thing he wanted most was to see his family again. To go home to Ohio to see his kids and grandkids, especially the grandson that keeps hoping every man he sees is his grandpa.

Step by step, Angelo is getting there. Angelo said that some days it feels like things just keep coming up to get in his way, that it seems like the steps to complete his goals are unending. But he is making progress; even if it is slower than he would like.

He has successfully gotten off parole.

He is working hard in our Day by Day program and is in recovery. One of the new additions to our treatment program is time spent in House of Charity’s plot in the Gethsemane community garden. There is research that proves that even 30 minutes spent outside can greatly reduce stress. This is a huge part of recovery. Angelo has been a part of that. He said that it has helped him relax and he hopes that when he gets his own home, the skills he’s learned in our community garden will allow him to plant and grow his own garden.

He has a job that some days is his escape from everything that seems impossible. Now he just needs a home and a car. And to see his family again.

“I wanted to get off parole before I could go home and see my family. I made that possible.”

We work with men and women like Angelo every single day. We support them as they move from addiction, incarceration, homelessness or mental illness toward recovery, freedom and independence.

Every day, people like Angelo find hope because they’re not alone.

How to Help Someone in Recovery

Community is a vital part of recovery. Support, encouragement and accountability can make the difference for someone working on recovery. Here are a few ways you can support someone in recovery from substance abuse or mental illness:Community is a vital part of recovery. Support, encouragement and accountability can make the difference for someone working on recovery. Here are a few ways you can support someone in recovery from substance abuse or mental illness:

Tell them you want to help and be available.  Many people in recovery feel alone or judged. By simply saying you want to help, you are communicating that their recovery is important.

Learn more about recovery.  Educate yourself! Learn more about the experiences, potential struggles and setbacks and supports needed for someone in recovery. By arming yourself with knowledge, you will better be able to support your friend or loved one.

Be supportive and avoid unreasonable expectations.  Every recovery looks different. Focus on supporting your friend or family member in their unique recovery journey rather than pushing them to recover quickly.

Find support.  The person recovering isn’t the only one who needs support. You might too! Find resources and groups that can help you support your friend or family member in recovery.

But most important of all, be patient.  Your friend or family member needs your support and patience as they work toward recovery. There will be relapses. There will be days where it feels like no progress was made. Just be patient. Recovery is a journey.

Join Us At the Walk to End Hunger!

Every single day of the year, we serve a hot, filling meal to every single person who walks through our Food Centre doors. We are working hard to end hunger and we found a group of people with the same goal!
On Thanksgiving morning, we will be joining 13 other organizations and hundreds of walkers at the Mall of America on a mission to eliminate hunger in the Twin Cities. Please join us!
It’ll be a great morning full of fun activities and the chance to make sure someone else gets to eat before you dig in to your pumpkin pie!
Since 2008, the Walk to End Hunger has raised over $1,200,000 to help support
hunger relief organizations working to eliminate hunger in the Twin Cities metro area. One-hundred percent of the net proceeds are distributed to our partner organizations.

The event officially starts in the Rotunda at 7:30am. The walk and activities will be from 8-10am.

All individuals who raise $100 will receive a free event t-shirt.

Hunger Fighter (18+ yrs.): $25.00; $35.00 at the door
Hunger Fighter Jr.: FREE

Join the House of Charity team as we continue to work to end hunger!



If you have questions, email Nicole Laumer:

Our Day by Day Program Looks at the Whole Person

In our Day by Day substance use disorder and mental health recovery program, we believe that caring for the whole person is the most important part of recovery.
Our holistic approach to the treatment of co-occurring disorders has the ability to restore the mind, body, and spirit through such program components as:

  • Personalized Recovery Plans
  • Health & Wellness Programming
  • Psychotherapy
  • Chemical Health Assessments
  • Mental Health Evaluations
  • Life Skills Development
  • Dual Disorder Case Management
  • Individual, Group, and Family Counseling

Each aspect of our program is designed to help individuals in recovery and encourage life-long coping skills and community. Last year, Kyle, one of our counselors, wrote about how 41% of individuals living with mental illness will never receive help and how 90% of Americans living with substance use disorders will never receive treatment. This is because those individuals expect and feel judgement and isolation when they need help and community the most.
We’re trying to change that.

How Do We Help End Homelessness?

written by Greg Owen, HoC Board Member

I remember one of my first interviews with a homeless man in Minneapolis. He had been on the streets for a long time and his face told the story of the hard life he had lived. He did not smile much, gave one or two word answers to the survey questions, and reported a long list of health problems. But he wanted people to know his story and was eager to get the $5 in cash offered to survey participants so that he could buy some hot food when we were done. I remember feeling helpless to do much for this man at the time, but I hoped the survey information we were gathering as part of Wilder’s Statewide Homeless Study would raise awareness and lead to some solutions.
House of Charity works to address many of the problems faced by those trapped in a world of homelessness by providing food, housing and an opportunity to access addiction treatment. And one of the most powerful tools we have is the housing we provide. We know that safe and supportive housing makes a difference.
In a three-year follow-up study of 581 adults in 51 supportive housing programs across Minnesota, Wilder researchers found that:

  • Supportive housing serves residents with serious disabilities and other barriers to self-sufficiency including long-term and chronic homelessness.
    The supportive housing service models help connect residents to mainstream benefits that can help provide long-term stability.
  • Program participants make measurable gains in their ability to respond to challenges, budget money, receive support from others, stay focused, and remain hopeful about the future.
  • Half of all participants report that their mental health status improved after entering supportive housing.
  • More than three-quarters of all participants who left supportive housing programs during the study period exited to some form of permanent housing.

This study tell us that we are on the right track with our work at House of Charity and that stable housing is the bedrock required for a more stable and healthy future. It also tells us that we can make a difference if we are persistent in our goal to increase the availability of this kind of housing as we are now doing with the Park 7 Project. Let us all commit to continuing this work together to help define a better future for those who come to our doors.
Wilder’s next Statewide Homeless Study happens on October 25 this year. If you are interested in being a volunteer survey interviewer, call Karen Ulstad at 651-280-2690 or Chris Lindberg at 651-280-2728

Our Community Garden

It’s amazing how healing a few minutes in the dirt can be. Studies have proven that gardening is good for your health beyond the obvious exercise benefits; it’s good for your brain.
Exercise itself can help your mental health, but so can exercising your green thumb.
Many mental illness and addiction treatment centers have started experimenting with
gardening as part of recovery, and this year, we did the same.
It isn’t part of our treatment plan, but we encouraged clients to join the groups that went to tend our community garden plot, and it made a difference.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to join a group of gentlemen that are part of our Day by Day treatment program when they went to the garden. And in just an hour, I saw how much impact it had. Shoulders loosened, smiles emerged and, by the end, we were chatting like old friends.
Gardening is good for the soul, body and mind.
Recovery looks different for everyone. Sometimes it looks like in-patient rehab. Sometimes it looks like medication. Sometimes it looks like A.A.
Often, it looks like the courage to try again after relapse.
Our Day by Day program is part of what recovery looks like. By exploring new ways to heal the mind and body, we are helping more individuals reclaim their lives. And for some of them, that starts in a garden.
We are so grateful to the Gethsemane Episcopal Church for giving us a plot in their
community garden.

Advocacy: Homeless Day on the Hill 2018

On March 6, a team of 18 people from House of Charity joined over 1000 other individuals at the state Capitol to advocate for affordable housing. Staff, clients (a first for us), and board members met with their legislators to talk about the importance of supporting Minnesota’s
housing continuum by emphasizing the
importance of funds that will provide:
1.  Matching fund for communities to create and resource a Local Housing Trust Fund
2.  Funding for Homework Starts at Home to support students of homeless and highly mobile families
3.  Investments to prevent homelessness through rental assistance
4.  Preservation and building of over 3,000 units of housing for the lowest income Minnesotans
5.  Housing Infrastruture Bonds that will promote homeownership through community land trusts
And so much more


It is so important that we raise our voices to advocate for those who cannot.

sustainable recovery for a long-time client of House of Charity

Community as Part of Recovery

written by Kyle Lipinski, Women’s Counselor and MICD Intern


As fall approaches, I find myself reflecting on the kindness I can expect from strangers as cold season looms nearer. When I have a cold, I can expect offers of cough drops, tissues, and advice. I will receive condolences and well-wishes. My coworkers will encourage me to stay home and take care of myself until the worst of my symptoms subside. A cold is an illness that most people feel comfortable supporting someone through. Their typically short duration, known cause, and familiar presence seem to breed a sense of empathy.
However, when the cause of illness is indeterminable, caused by trauma, or by genetics, that community often disappears. When illness is misunderstood, mislabeled, or a life-long series of recovery and relapses, support networks may never return.
When these support networks begin to waiver, or when an individual and their support network is pushed beyond their capacity to cope, the importance of treatment is highlighted. Over forty-three million Americans or 1 in 5 suffer from a mental illness, and only 41% of these individuals will receive treatment. Twenty million Americans are living with a substance use disorder, and up to 90% of them will not receive the treatment they need to recover. Individuals living with untreated mental health conditions and substance use disorders are at higher risk for chronic illness, homelessness and shortened life expectancies. But recovery is possible with comprehensive support.
In our Day by Day treatment programs, clients practice coping skills, learn how to advocate for themselves, and make strides towards creating a life worth living every day. But the most important thing that treatment provides individuals
who suffer from mental illness and chemical dependency is a sense of unconditional support. They may come into the treatment center alone, but they leave knowing they are now part of a larger community that shares the struggles they face daily. This comes from the helping professionals who can aid them in finding resources and developing new skill sets, and from peers. Day by Day brings together those in need with the people who can offer the support and empathy that they need to vastly improve their overall quality of life. Everyone just needs the chance and the opportunity to connect.

To learn more about our treatment programs, visit our website: resources/dependency-illness-treatment


National Alliance on Mental Illness . (n.d.). Mental Health by the Numbers . Retrieved August 23, 2017, from
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration . (n.d.). Co-occurring Disorders. Retrieved August 23, 2017, from

Make Your Voice Heard: Protect Our Homes

As President Trump and Congress continue to work toward finalizing the 2018 budget, the homeless, and those who advocate for the
homeless, look on in fear.
The proposed budget for 2018, which could go into effect on October 1, has cuts which would be devastating to people experiencing
homelessnes and hunger every day.
The proposed cuts would remove 6.2 billion dollars from the Housing and Urban Development section of funding.
This reduction also doesn’t speak well for the future, as the proposed spending speaks very clearly of the priorities of our current administration.
The budget is supposed to be approved on October 1, but it has been 20 years since the last budget was passed on schedule. We still have time to make a change!
Will you help us as we move to stop this change that will so severly effect those we are fighting to help? We need you to help as we tell our lawmakers and president why this change will damage our cities and cause setback in so much of the work we have already done. Join us.
Protect our homes.

Twitter: @Protect_Homes
Hashtags: #ProtectOurHomes #ProtectHousing

For more info, email Anna:

A Note from Nicole

Hello House of Charity Community!
My name is Nicole. I’m excited to be your Community Engagement Coordinator.
In my first few weeks, I’ve been struck by the love and devotion of everyone involved in making House of Charity successful. It is inspiring to work with volunteers and build
connections with organizations that envision the same future as House of Charity. I expect to witness powerful connections emerge during National Recovery Month and beyond.
As John Muir said, “when one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
Generous acts by our community members like the work of a volunteer group, a donation, the fundraising done by a faith community, the assembling of hygiene kits by a family and many, many more, ALL find themselves attached to the
mission of feeding, housing and empowering those
experiencing homelessness to achieve independence.
I am beyond excited to meet, engage and recognize the work of this powerful
community without whom House of Charity could not exist. So I first want to start off by saying THANK YOU, to YOU, for your devotion to House of Charity. I cannot wait to connect with you.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead


Open Volunteer Times
// Will You Become Part of the Community?


Sunday, October 1st: 9 am – Noon
Saturday, October 14th: 9 am – Noon
Saturday, October 21st: 9 am – Noon
Sunday, October 22nd: 9 am – Noon
Monday, October 30th: 11:45 am – 1 pm


Thursday, November 2nd: 11:45 am – 1 pm
Sunday, November 5th: 9 am – Noon
Saturday, November 11th: 9 am – Noon
Saturday, November 18th: 9 am – Noon
Saturday, November 25th: 9 am- Noon
Monday, November 27th: 11:45 am – 1 pm


Sunday, December 3rd: 9 am – Noon
Wednesday, December 13th: 11:45 am – 1 pm
Saturday, December 16th: 9 am – Noon
Sunday, December 17th: 9 am – Noon
Saturday, December 23rd: 9 am – Noon
Sunday, December 24th: 9 am – Noon
Saturday, December 30th: 9 am – Noon

Climbing Out of Darkness: Jacqueline’s Story

Jacqueline is a woman who exudes joy, strength and determination. When you speak with her, her words are covered in kindness and her face is always filled with a smile. But it hasn’t always been that way. Almost ten years ago, Jacqueline’s mother died and her world crumbled. Jacqueline had given up her home and career to care for her mother, and when she died, Jacqueline lost not only a home, but also hope. In 2008, Jacqueline committed what she called a “white-collar crime.” She said that she allowed herself to be talked into doing it, first because it would help her maintain a level of comfort that she wasn’t willing to give up.Secondly, her mother’s death was so devastating, she didn’t care what happened to her.Her death plunged Jacqueline into a spiral of depression, hopelessness, and homelessness. She spent the next three years moving from couch to couch, with no real vision or mission; only knowing that someday, she would have to pay for her crime.On June 9th, 2011, everything changed. Jacqueline was encouraged by a friend to call House of Charity. She did, and was told they had a bed for her, she just had to get there. Jacqueline recalls a cab being sent to her because she had no money. “Life, for me, began on that day,” Jac queline reflects. And in many ways it did.That day in June almost six years ago was a turning point, it was Jacqueline’s opportunity to reclaim her life and happiness.Jacqueline spent her time at House of Charity completing the goals she had set with her case manager. She helped other residents, who were attending MCTC, with their class work; she had majored in journalism in college and she said it brought her joy and fulfillment to help others with something she was good at.While she stayed at House of Charity, Jacqueline was impatient to get her own home. But she knew that the consequences of her crime prevented her from attaining housing. So she turned herself in, served her time, and then came back to House of Charity, knowing that this time, she could complete all her goals.
On May 17 of this year, Jacqueline moved into an apartment. She has a job and volunteers at another non-profit called “From Me to You”, a faith-based organization that provides hope through clothing and other resources for women and their families. Just like helping other residents with the school brought her satisfaction, so does her volunteering. Jacqueline said that being able to help and encourage the women she encounters every day has helped her on her journey. It has allowed her to once again not only use her skills but also her wisdom and compassion.
A decade ago, Jacqueline had given up. Her mother, her rock, had died, leaving her without a home and without hope. Now, because of House of Charity and the safety it provided, Jacqueline has hope and a mission. She has vision, and nothing hanging over her. Her joy is infectious. Her smile brings peace and warmth. Jacqueline is a woman who has found life again.
“Some days, through this whole journey, I wanted to give up, but what keeps me going is my support network, which is comprised of my church and friends I have met, and knowing that God has blessed me with the drive and the tenacity to know that with patience and getting out everyday, because I haven’t just sat in here, success, recovery, and independence is possible if one is serious about what is important to them and what life has to offer.”

Housing and Treatment for Mental Health and Addiction Cannot Be Separated

If you were sick, could you get better by continuing to work or by not resting properly? If you broke a bone, would it ever mend if you kept using it? The answer is no.
So why is addiction and mental health treatment considered any different? Why is only one problem addressed while others are ignored? Why is a man or woman who is homeless and struggling with addiction expected to be completely clean before being considered for housing?

Why is a person’s mental health not considered paramount to the success of any kind of recovery?
But isn’t that where much of our world is now? Mental health is ignored while every other problem is medicated, talked about, and examined.
At House of Charity, we know that recovery is about the whole person. That’s why we treat not only addiction, but also mental health. The two go hand in hand, so we treat it as such.
Mental health is a person’s foundation. It is the source from which all other action comes. That is why we treat mental health and addiction together; because they are intertwined and true recovery isn’t possible without treating both.
More than half of Minnesota’s adult homeless population struggle with mental illness and 20 percent struggle with addiction.
That should tell you two things. First, we may have done a lot for homelessness and addiction already, but we still have a lot of work to do. Second, the issues of homelessness, mental illness, and addiction cannot be considered separate issues and treated as such any longer.
At House of Charity, we address all three issues. We understand the importance of co-occurring treatment and seek to offer all our clients every resource and form of support they need to become addiction-free and independent individuals. We treat mental health and addiction together; those two entities are never separated, nor should they ever be.
Many of our housing residents also attend treatment. When a person has a home, they have the safety and stability to really focus on recovery and healing. Take care of a person’s basic needs, and they’ll be ready to take care of other problems in their lives.
Mental health, addiction, and homelessness are often intertwined. They need to be treated together to truly be effective. And we do just that.

Smiling at independence

An Ultimate Goal: Independence

Smiling manAddicted to drugs and with his life falling apart,  Steve travelled from Chicago to Minneapolis to find a treatment program. A friend suggested and generously gifted Steve with a bus ticket, which began a decade of upward momentum toward independence. Steve recalls that the first thing he saw after getting to Minneapolis was the Metrodome. He climbed out of the bus, kissed the ground there, and has felt “blessed ever since.”

Need, poverty, and hunger often look differently than we expect.

Shortly after arriving here, Steve got a job as a laborer similar to jobs he’d held in Chicago. He was shocked to learn that here he would earn more than he had ever earned before. After a year’s stay at the Dorothy Day Center, a friend told him about the programs at House of Charity and he has been a part of the HOC organization ever since.

Setting Goals for Independence

When Steve walked through the doors at House of Charity, his goals were to get clean, get his own apartment, and achieve all the things he had been striving for but never had the resources to attain. From his start in the permanent supportive housing program, to the help of the Day by Day treatment program, and through his current time living in his own apartment—with a second-time help from House of Charity—Steve knows that all he has accomplished is because he had goals. It’s the mantra he keeps repeating: “I’ve got to have goals.”


Without goals, Steve says, not only he, but anyone who walks through the doors of House of Charity, will get stuck. With no vision or support, there is no chance for success and independence. Steve’s client advocate, Kassandra, has helped Steve look at both where he has come from and where he is going, to look towards complete addiction-free independence.


Since coming to Minnesota, Steve has rebuilt relationships with his friends and family, most importantly, with his daughter. Steve speaks with pride about his daughter and what she is doing. He especially notes how much she is like him in her determination and attitude.

An Advocate for HOC

Steve has also become an avid advocate for House of Charity. He repeatedly says that he has only good things to say about it. The organization gave him hope and changed his life. And he wants other people to have that hope as well.
“There’s a lot of things that I lost while I was on drugs, and I’ve gained every last one back because of House of Charity. They gave me my life back.” To Steve, the hallways and rooms of House of Charity feel like a second home.

Even though he has maintained his sobriety and no longer lives at HOC, Steve still visits HOC often. His life changed for the better at HOC— he found hope and found a home. Steve has worked hard, held a steady job, and still occasionally needs help from House of Charity.


Join us as we help individuals find their way to independence.

Pulled Up By the Bootstraps

Work Harder. Try Harder.
Do Better.

These clichéd stigmas follow those in poverty in American culture. The thought is that poor people just need to pull themselves out of poverty—by their bootstraps, or the loops sewn atop boots to help pull them on. But is pulling yourself up and out of poverty all by yourself possible? Spend an hour with a homeless veteran; walk in the shoes of a single mother; wait in a day-labor line all morning. You might realize a reality in poverty that is very different than what you recognize by worn-out catch phrases. [Check out our “Ask the Expert” video series, with Jennifer and Terry to gain the perspective of those affected by poverty and homelessness.]

Factors Contributing to Poverty

Many different factors contribute to poverty. Adverse experiences to children, such as abuse, neglect, or parental incarceration place that young life on a difficult path. Adults can also encounter this path of poverty due to lack of opportunity, personal chemical dependency and mental health issues. However, laziness and apathy are rarely the cause of poverty. Carmen Rios, an author and advocate who grew up the child of a single mother struggling with poverty, remembers distinctly how often people accused her mother of not working hard enough and being the “cause of our faulty economy.”

In this land of plenty and equality, often those that need the most are left out. Over half of the children in America live in homes where their parents struggle to make ends meet.

A disproportionate number of working adults work two jobs. Many are under- or unemployed, people who struggle just to pay their day-to-day living costs. Two people of identical age and education may not have equal opportunities for advancement simply because one of them might lack the resources to continue education or to obtain the required skills for a professional position. Rarely is the solution to poverty a simple case of people needing to work harder.

Be the Bootstraps that Pull Up Individuals

As a culture, we should help those who are struggling with poverty. Other than government support, there are few accessible or relevant resources that allow individuals to climb out of poverty. We must stop perpetuating the myth that a person living in poverty is lazy and the simple solution is to work harder; because that is not always possible.

At House of Charity, we don’t expect people experiencing hunger and homelessness to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” We partner with those individuals and provide them with resources to create their very own bootstraps. And, if needed, we’ll pull them up when their boots have no straps.


Food centre meal user statistics

The Importance of Our Food Centre

In order to learn about our guests at House of Charity’s Food Centre, we survey the men and women on a quarterly basis. We ask simple questions to gain basic information about the guests’ lives and reasons for coming for meals there. We wanted to share a bit about how frequently our guests utilize the Food Centre.


The good news:
The Food Centre provides over 125,000 meals each year to hungry people.

The sad news:
125,000 individuals each year need help with finding a good meal.


Lawrence, a guest who eats with us 6 times per week, frames up the importance of the Food Centre for his life. “You know, I eat here all the time. Ya’ll truly do keep people fed and keep us alive.”


Food Centre Numbers

Food centre meal user statistics

Click the image for close-up details of graphic in a new window.

You can see that the numbers in the above graphic support Lawrence’s statement. The first chart illustrates that over half of our guests depend on House of Charity for meals at least three times per week. Then, looking more closely, we can see that in any given month nearly 90% of our diners eat with us at least once per week on average.

In the second chart, you can see how long people have been utilizing our meal service. With roughly 70% of guests visiting us for at least a year, and almost a quarter of guests coming for more than six years, it is safe to say that the Food Centre plays an essential role in the lives of our guests.

For Follow-up

In House of Charity’s next newsletter, we will take a look at the data we have collected about the employment status of Food Centre guests, because quite a few guests have indicated that they use the Food Centre meal facility on their way to, or on their way back from, work.

Here are a few more articles about food shelf use and hunger among the employed.

DiBlasio, Natalie. “Hunger in America: 1 in 7 Rely on Food Banks.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 17 Aug. 2014. Web. 29 May 2017. <>.

“From Paycheck to Pantry: Hunger in Working America.” Feeding America. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 May 2017. <>.

HOC supports legislative agenda for available housing

Our 2017 Legislative Agenda

Icons for several groups that lobby for legislative action to benefit hosing

The 2017 Legislative Session is well underway. House of Charity supports the legislative agenda for “Homes for All,” “Prosperity for All,” and “Restore the Vote.”

Homes for All

The “Homes for All” initiative is pushing for two major initiatives:

2017 “Homes for All” Legislative Request

  • “Homes for All” requests an additional $30 million in the state budget for the full spectrum of housing needs and to strengthen Minnesota’s Housing Continuum: investments will prevent and end homelessness, promote affordable housing, and prepare homeowners. These investments help communities throughout the state address housing needs and build financial assets.
  • Homes for All also requests $100 million in bonds for housing. These investments provide critical funding to build and preserve affordable housing throughout the state. This would allow the state to build or preserve 3,000 homes for Minnesotans experiencing homelessness.

The Governor’s budget and bills in the House and Senate include funds to help individuals and families end their homelessness with services and housing that fits their need.

Prosperity for All

The “Prosperity for All” initiative is an appeal for two actions

  • Increase the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) cash assistance by $100. MFIP provides work support and temporary cash assistance for families working toward full-time employment. The MFIP funds have not increased in 30 years. The cost of living has certainly increased, but the support for families working toward employment has not.
  • Improve the Working Family Credit. The credit needs to be offered to more families, be increased, and include younger workers.

Restore the Vote

Restore the Vote is an effort to reinstate voting rights for ex-offenders on probation or parole.

We need your help! Call or e-mail your Legislator to let them know you want them to support the “Homes for All,” “Prosperity for All,” and “Restore the Vote” Legislative Agendas.

It’s easy to call and leave a voicemail or message with a staffer: “Hi, my name is _____________________ and I live in ____________(city). I strongly support the $100 million investment in bonds for housing through the Homes for All initiative. I’m calling to ask _____________ to support “Homes for All” and I want them to also include the MFIP cash assistance increase again in the 2017 budget. It’s been 30 years since MFIP cash assistance for low-income families has been increased. It is time to increase support. Thank you.”
To find out who represents you go to:

What the Food Stamps Program Looks Like Now

chart of snap (food stamp) benefit per people in household

,HOC’s free meals at the Food Centre help meet the challenges faced by working families. The above statistics show why people struggle to feed their families on limited incomes, even when the head of household is working hard. For a family of four in Minnesota, the average cost of groceries per month is $900. For families with little or no stable income, that amount looks like an impossible obstacle to overcome. When money is tight, food is often last in a long list of expenses to pay out.  Housing costs often become the first priority for a tightly stretched dollar. As a result, many individuals and families come to places like the House of Charity Food Centre to help out just a little with their immediate food crisis.

Many of those people who visit House of Charity’s Food Centre qualify for and recieve food assistance. The program in Minnesota, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, can help people in bridging the gap. Often, however, this supplement is not enough to meet the needs of the family. This program, which used to be known as Food Stamps, offers about $200 a month in benefits per person. Based on the average cost of groceries for a family of four, this is far from sufficient to keep families, especially children, healthy. For this reason, many families end up at the Food Centre to supplement their food budget and get a good healthy meal.


If a family seeks help with food, whether through the Food Centre or SNAP, it doesn’t mean a lack of effort at their job. Many parents work long, hard hours just to be able to afford a house or rent for their family. A safe living situation. We at House of Charity are here to help them bridge the gap as they work toward complete sufficiency and independence.


For Further Information:

Visit the MN Department of Human Services SNAP page to gain more knowledge about the program and see what it takes to apply.

For a broader view of the program, visit the goverment benefits website.

Photo of Terry, rebuilding life

Rebuilding Life with Humor and Wit

Terry, a recovering life

Terry’s was a life marked with unthinkable trauma, sadness, and loss. By the time he’d reached his current 84 years, he’d experienced more than most could fathom. From serving his country in the army, to surviving 30 Minnesota winters on the streets, Terry had encountered devastating life experiences, one after another. Each cut like a knife, slicing off a little more of his resilience. All these trials contributed to his experience of homelessness, but one episode stood apart from the rest, in his long journey of rebuilding life.

In 1985, Terry’s beloved dog, Cliff, was put down. This defining moment started his experience of homelessness. “The day I had my dog put down hurt me most. Cliff was the last vestige of my former life,” he said. Any memories of stability Terry had were tied to his pet. When Terry lost Cliff, he also lost the last remaining link to his past. He just gave up—on everything.

Rebuilding Life, One Piece at a Time

Terry lived on the streets for three decades. He says, “I put it off….I really didn’t want to come inside and have to live by someone else’s rules.” With his health and eyesight deteriorating rapidly, he knew it was no longer an option to continue as he had for the past 30 years.

He came to the Food Centre at least four times a week for his “sit-down and enjoyable” meal, saying, “Is it always my favorite dish? Of course not, but there’s always plenty of it.” He paused, and with a dead-pan expression stated, “And the price is always affordable.” This ever-present wit and his compassion for others makes Terry a favorite among House of Charity’s staff and volunteers.

Terry’s favorite audience are the students who volunteer at the Food Centre, of which he said with a grin, “They come in and they smile and like my jokes, but most importantly, they remind me of what I used to be like. At my age, to see them smile when they talk with me….” Shaking his head, he smiled, “Yah, that’s my favorite part.”

A Positive Mindset, Mixed with Humor

The power of purpose, activity, and laughter are the pillars upon which Terry’s life and survival are now built. This positive mindset is also the foundation upon which his legacy will rest. The support of established structures and regular routines are vital to Terry. He keeps himself busy in his free time visiting hospital patients, reading for the blind, and delivering hand-made bouquets.

Recently, Terry found permanent housing through a partnership between HOC and the Minnesota VA. Whenever possible, Terry supplements his diet at House of Charity’s Food Centre. He continues to use his experiences with homelessness to encourage and comfort others. Those going through similar experiences in their quest for rebuilding life find encouragement from his positive outlook.

Terry’s journey through homelessness is a testament to us all. Terry’s perseverance and the power of keeping a positive mindset no matter how dark the situation may be are an encouragement to all.


Photo of Melvin, who partners with House of Charity for transformation in his life.

A Partner in Transformational Action

Melvin’s story tells of his partnership with House of Charity in his life transformation:

“There comes a time when you realize whatever cycle you have been in needs to stop. Stay clean. Go to school. Do whatever you need to do. Find programs like House of Charity.”

For over 20 years, Melvin worked as a professional bill collector, a job that demanded a lot of him emotionally. The byproduct of his job was high stress: an emotional toll that came from having to deal with highly sensitive situations each day. As a result Melvin started abusing crack cocaine and marijuana in an attempt to escape from the daily pressures that came with his work.

At this point in his life he left his job and moved to Florida, but there his drug use only escalated. He went through treatment programs several times without sobriety ever truly sticking. After a combination of bad life choices involving relationships and personal connections that kept leading him away from his goals, Melvin finally resolved to commit to his sobriety and moved back to Minnesota to face his demons.

New Beginnings Rooted in Optimism

Seemingly having nowhere else to turn, Melvin came to Minneapolis and House of Charity. He was admitted to HOC’s Day by Day Outpatient Chemical Dependency Treatment Program. After completing treatment, Melvin took back his life with the help of his counselors and many other staff members.

Now fully sober and stable, Melvin has landed on a new career path for himself and has enrolled in technical vocation training to become a community health worker and, eventually, a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant). His long-term goal is to be both so that he can help people in more than one place.

Transformation of Pain into Positive Action

Melvin’s ultimate mission was always to get clean, stay clean, and find a job; and through his hard work and unwavering focus, he is achieving far more than that. By taking back his life from his addiction, he has not only changed his life, but he has discovered that he also has the potential to save others.

House of Charity stood alongside Melvin when he needed it, and Melvin is determined to do the same for others. “The advice I give folks in my situation,” he says, “is to stay strong in what you are doing. You don’t want to keep falling. There comes a time when you realize whatever cycle you have been in needs to stop. Stay clean. Go to school. Do whatever you need to do. Find programs like House of Charity.”

Melvin is proud of his hard-earned growth and stability. He has been in his apartment for almost two years and continues to do the right thing. “I will always thank House of Charity for the impact they made on my life. This is a powerful program of transformation. And this is much better than other programs I’ve heard about. They really do try to help you.”

Jennifer, from the "2016 Ask the Expert videos

2016 Ask the Expert Videos are out!

Be sure to check out all our “2016 Ask the Expert Series” videos. We have continued the popular series started last year. We found a new voice, Jennifer’s, to tell this story about an exceptionally strong woman and her experience of homelessness, how she got in touch with House of Charity, and how she was helped in her journey to move forward.


Watch the introduction

to the “2016 Ask the Expert”

For all of our “Ask the Expert” videos, see our “Ask the Expert Video Series”  or the “Media Corner” pages of our House of Charity website:


In addition to watching the videos of Jennifer answering our “Ask the Expert” questions, you can read more about her story in an article featuring House of Charity, as well as Jennifer and her story, on the website “Midwest Pollen,” which is further discussed here on our website. House of Charity is highlighted on the  article. “Pollen” is a website that “helps people break down barriers to build better connected communities.”

See the story about House of Charity and more about Pollen at:

serving food every day at House of Charity

Give-to-the-Max Day — Pre-Schedule your gift!



Give to the Max Day is November 17th! We are inviting you to pre-schedule a gift now, and “avoid the lines” at the GiveMN website.

Every dollar donated to House of Charity allows us to Feed, House and Empower our clients/guests. From purchasing food, to delivering case management, to providing a new pillow, our services rely heavily on donations great and small. And for all gifts we receive, we are incredibly thankful.

Since many of you have been receiving multiple emails about Give to the Max Day already, House of Charity wants to send you only one…this one. With your pledge to House of Charity in advance, we make our pledge to you…we will not bother you on Give to the Max Day! Follow the link below to our GiveMN page, make a donation, and know you will have one less Organization contacting you on Give to the Max Day.


For more details about what Give to the Max and GiveMN is all about,
click here:

To read “The Amazing, Real-Life Story Of GiveMN,” click here:

Mental illness, depression, and homelessness

Mental Illness and Homelessness


Did you know that mental health disorders can reduce life expectancy by 10 to 20 years? That is as much as or even more than smoking over 20 cigarettes a day?

The mortality risk for women with postpartum depression was more than seven times higher than that of a heavy smoker. People with substance abuse disorders and anorexia had higher mortality rates than smokers, as well. And while chain smoking eight to 10 years earlier than nonsmokers, schizophrenia can decrease life expectancy by up to 20 years.

People suffering from mental conditions are sometimes less likely to go to the doctor. They may not be able to manage their own health care. The statewide 2015 Wilder Research Study on Homelessness (Minnesota) states that mental health issues are a concern for adults experiencing homelessness: 57% report serious mental health issues in 2015, compared with 55% in 2012, and 36% in 2000.

Hundreds of people experiencing homelessness also end up in psychiatric hospitals with severe mental illnesses. They usually stay in the hospital for a short period of time. Then they return to the streets without any medical care.

Mental Illness: a barrier to progress for those experiencing homelessness


All too often untreated mental illness is a barrier for people experiencing homelessness to progress towards independence. At House of Charity, we have found that we first must help people become stable with consistent housing and food before we can help them seek treatment for mental illness. Our housing program provides that initial stability and our Day by Day program and other services near us help people address and treat their mental illness along with chemical dependency as often they are combined barriers.

Also from the 2015 Wilder Research Study on Homelessness, of the population statewide in Minnesota who have experienced long-term homelessness: 60% have a mental illness, 21% have a substance abuse problem, and 18% have a dual mental illness and chemical dependency diagnosis. Having both is a significant barrier to having independent housing.


sustainable recovery for a long-time client of House of Charity

A Path to Sustainable Recovery

sustainable recovery for a long-time client of House of Charity


One of the people connected with House of Charity the longest isn’t an employee, it’s a client! We sat down with Kyle to talk about his personal journey on the path for a sustainable recovery, and also how House of Charity has grown over the years.


Q: When did you first use services at House of Charity?

“Around 2006, House of Charity converted their main building to serve more people in a Group Residential Housing setting and I’m pretty sure I was the first person in that program. In 2012, when the Housing First program started, I was one of the first people in that program too, so I guess you could call me the House of Charity resident guinea pig. All new programs are tested for safety and efficacy by me!” Kyle shares with a smile.

Q: You just used the word efficacy correctly. Is it fair to say there is higher education in your background?

“I was able to acquire a Bachelor of Science in Business Finance from the University of Minnesota. After that, I received an MBA from the University of Arizona. Mental illness doesn’t just strike the poor and uneducated and sometimes—as with me—it’s lifelong. Now I see a psychiatrist, and I have a fantastic primary care physician, but sometimes I only receive an hour a month on their schedule. That’s where my House of Charity case manager comes in. I can call her when I need to, and since she’s familiar with my case, she can help with insight, advice and assist with my needs.”

While Kyle admits to being somewhat reticent to be interviewed, he feels strongly that mental illness must be addressed, and not ignored.

“The Centers for Disease Control recently stated that twenty percent of Americans will face mental illness at some point in their lives, so even if it doesn’t personally touch you it WILL affect you in some way, right? We need to change the stigma that’s associated with mental illness.”

The topics of drug use, addiction and mental illness arose, and Kyle continued to share his perspectives about achieving sustainable recovery.

“It doesn’t surprise me that people who are in a bad place want to escape, and that they get into drugs because that’s what we’ve traditionally used drugs for, to escape.” Kyle adds, “Because we don’t fully understand drug addiction, we’ve come to think of it as a moral failing, but a few hundred years ago if a person got sick it was thought it was because they had done something wrong. Until we get past this idea that it is a failing, people are going to hide it. And if we hide it, how are we going to treat it?”

With one final thought, Kyle wanted to leave his impression of House of Charity on his life in a simple way…

“If they can ‘fix’ me, they can ‘fix’ anybody!”

Graphic showing that for every dollar spent on Drug treatment services, $12 is returned to benefit society.

Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Services


From the 2015 Wilder Research Study on Homelessness percentages of people with mental illness and/or chemical dependency in Hennepin County, Minnesota

A great number of people who suffer from long-term homelessness also suffer from mental illness and addiction. In fact, according to the 2015 Wilder Research Study on Homelessness specifically for Hennepin County in Minnesota: 54.6% of people experiencing homelessness have a mental illness, 18.3% have a substance abuse problem, and 15.8% have a dual mental illness and chemical dependency diagnosis.

In our last newsletter, we shared that people experiencing long-term homelessness are more likely to succeed when they have the ability to move into Permanent Supportive Housing (affordable housing with support services). A person is more successful in
retaining Permanent Supportive Housing once they have treated and/or are treating their mental illness and/or chemical dependency. Addressing and treating mental illness and chemical dependency helps people become better tenants with their landlords, a better neighbor and community member. They become more prepared to address other barriers like education and employment as they work towards achieving independence.

Dollars and Sense: The Return on Investment for Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Services

treatment-roiIn 2015 the Minnesota Department of Human Services found that for every $1 spent on drug treatment services, $12 is returned to society in reductions in drug-related crime, criminal justice costs, and health care costs. Each House of Charity client receiving case management services presents a return on investment of $21,758.

Free Public showers available at House of Charity.

Providing Public Showers

Public showerWe all know that a regular shower is important for maintaining good hygiene. People experiencing homelessness need regular hygiene, because they are consistently exposed to the elements. Those experiencing homelessness spend much of their time in public places, such as subways, parks, and buses. In these places, they encounter every kind of virus and germ. Regular bathing is necessary to avoid odors, infections, and germs.

Showers are important in a society where hygiene is required for job opportunities and other positive social interactions.

However, there are few places that offer a free public shower around the Twin Cities Metro area.

Public showers might be available in gyms or at the workplace. To use these facilities,  however, you need to be a paying member for the use. People who are experiencing homelessness are not likely to be able to afford joining such clubs and probably don’t have full-time jobs at companies where gyms are readily available. Obviously, one can’t depend on the shower at a job which one doesn’t have or at a club which one can’t afford to join. This all feeds into the circle of discouragement from which those experiencing homelessness find it almost impossible to break free. In order to keep up the level of hygiene that is necessary to enter the workforce, public showers must be available.


Those experiencing homelessness often are highly exposed to the street, dust, and smoke found in urban spaces. Those experiencing the lack of a permanent home don’t want to “look homeless.”  Most want to maintain proper hygiene and appearance so they do not stand out. Helping to provide them with the opportunity to get clean is a priority for us. This is why House of Charity provides a free public showers for anyone. The showers are open from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, Monday through Friday.  People using the showers receive a towel and soap from House of Charity free of charge. Our free public showers are available at our main building at 510 South 8th Street in Minneapolis.


For other ways to give, see our “Other Ways to Give” page for suggestions about making an in-kind donation of supplies for those using the public showers.

Four images of United Health Group volunteering at the House of Charity Food Centre: orienting the group, preparing the food, serving the food.

Thank You United Health Group for Helping at Our Food Centre!


Fifteen Executives from United Health Group came to our Food Centre to assist in a large scale meal prep project. From dicing peppers, to preparing 600+ burritos, to preparing the next two days lunches, our volunteers from United Health tackled their tasks with a smile on their face, and willingness to help in their hearts.

Our Food Centre Director, Kevin Walker, estimates that it would have taken his staff 6-8 days to complete the amount of prep that they finished in 3 hours.

Thank you so much United Health for rolling up your sleeves, and making it easier for us to Feed Those in Need!

Support from individuals and businesses like United Health Group are critical to helping us feed those in need. To learn more about our Food Centre and to support House of Charity, visit:

United Health Group is the most diversified health care company in the United States and a leader worldwide in helping people live healthier lives and helping to make the health system work better for everyone. To learn more about United Health Group, visit :



House of Charity T-shirt, "Feed House Empower."

Buy a T-Shirt and Support our Food Centre

September is #HungerActionMonth. Help us feed those most in need in Minneapolis by purchasing a “Feed. House. Empower.” t-shirt. All proceeds support our Food Centre which serves free meals to the public 365 days a year and is the only free lunch program in Minneapolis that is open seven days a week.

On average, 11,500 meals are served each month, with daily public participation of 350 people (on average). Breakfast is served every weekday to women, children, and men with children. Lunch is served every day to anyone who walks through our doors, no questions asked.

Staff have described hearing the stories of people who are barely making it financially, and need the free meals in order to keep their housing.

Julia is one such guest. She shared her story because she wanted us to know the impact we have on her life: “I can get free food here and that allows me to save money for rent.”

Julia is a single woman. She has her own studio apartment. With two part-time jobs, she works from four to six days each week. After she pays the rent from her earnings, she has $70 left over for the month, the equivalent of $2.33 each day for food, toiletries and other personal items, etc. Julia relies on the Food Centre for her meals, eating with us six to seven times per week.

Click Here to Order Your T-Shirt Today!


Jennifer, from the "2016 Ask the Expert videos

Featured in

House of Charity is highlighted on the website. Pollen “helps people break down barriers to build better connected communities.”  See story and more about Pollen at:

Expanding Hope for the Homeless

Sep 6, 2016

Words by Meher Khanhouseofcharity_-74-alt-sm-jennifer


“How would your life change if you got sick? If medical couldn’t cover your bills? If you had to give all your money to medical? What would you do? Would you know where to go for help? Would you ask for help?”

Before her injury, Jennifer never could have imagined herself homeless. “I knew homelessness existed, but I guess I just didn’t give it any thought, and if I did, it was like, ‘Why are they homeless? They can work. They look like they can work.’ But it’s more than what you look like.” Just like in Jennifer’s situation, it could happen to anyone, at any time, and for any reason.

Jennifer was working three jobs when a back injury, exacerbated by the physical demands of her job in healthcare, led to a broken back and an inability to work. As her medical bills piled up, she found herself out of a home and living in her car.

“We’re paychecks away from the same situation,” says Evelyn Combs, Client Advocate Director.

It took Jennifer a long time before she could ask for help. After trying several shelters, she was more inclined to sleep on the street than face the conditions within those walls. Then one day, as she drove past House of Charity, something told her she should go inside. She had no idea what it was or what services they provided; she only knew that she needed to get inside before she froze to death. An hour later, she circled back and walked through the door.

House of Charity

For many people experiencing homelessness, pride often gets in the way of asking for help. In order to get out of the situation she was in, Jennifer had to ask for help, and for somebody who had been independently supporting herself, that was a difficult task. But House of Charity takes a unique approach with each of its clients who walk through the door.

“They made me feel like I was worthy of being here. ‘Yes we know you’re homeless…That doesn’t make you ugly, that doesn’t make you somebody else.’ Once they broke that barrier, that’s when I felt like ‘Ok, they’re really gonna help me.’ The next step was changing my attitude, and the following step was learning what I’m getting ready to do.” By addressing Jennifer’s internal struggles, House of Charity opened her up to not only surviving, but also progressing and thriving.

House of Charity is so much more than a charity or a shelter. Under one roof, there are services to address mental, physical, and emotional concerns, plus a highly qualified and invested staff who is willing to reach beyond his or her scope of work to find help and answers.


“I’ve never gotten an ‘I can’t help you.’ Even when I first came here and there was no room, they told me they’d get me in when they could.”

Equally important to the services House of Charity provides is the network it’s helped to create. “Community building and networking is important because we can’t do everything here, but it’s important to know where to send people to get help,” says Evelyn. “After the economy failed, a lot of resources went away. It was important for staff to know where to send people, or that an [organization’s] address was valid, because sometimes it takes somebody’s last $2 to get to that place.”

Once Jennifer was ready for the next step, House of Charity had even more resources to help her get there. Jennifer tapped into House of Charity’s other services including their Food Centre, other food shelves, doctors, and disability.

Food Centre

“My case manager was like a mini therapist; I used her ear and her professionalism to get some things off of my chest. I used their classes: financial budgeting, how to be a good neighbor, how to sign a lease, what an addendum to a lease was. I felt pretty damn smart.” The next hurdle for Jennifer, one which she never expected when she walked through the door of House of Charity, was finding an apartment.

Jennifer’s case manager was with her every step of the way during her housing search. Having the support of House of Charity was critical; as barriers to obtaining housing came up, House of Charity was there to tell Jennifer why something didn’t work out, and went one step further to help her address that barrier and prepare for the next search.

“The day I went to look at my apartment and I had my case manager with me, it was incredible. She vouched for me and I was accepted. Not only are they present, but they’re advocating on your behalf, and they know you.”

As of today, Jennifer has been in her apartment for three years and continues to use House of Charity’s services to progress and thrive.

“I’m getting there. I’m a work in progress. I love the independence, but I’ve still got a lot of work to do within myself, mentally, within my community, but I have that support.” When asked what kind of community House of Charity builds, Jennifer’s answer is simple:


“It looks like success. It looks like happy people, independent people. It’s a beautiful sight to see.”

House of Charity is so proud of Jennifer and what she has accomplished. She is a true testament to the spirit of hope and a better tomorrow. It is with that spirit of hope House of Charity is pleased to announce its Expanding Hope Campaign for a new building and expansion of services. Please visit and consider making a donation to help transform the lives of others like Jennifer.

Posted by Pollen on Sep 6, 2016
Logo for Lloyd's Barbecue

Lloyd’s Barbeque Gives $5,000 to Our Food Centre


SPECIAL THANKS to Lloyd’s Barbeque and the Hormel Corporation for their generous gift of $5,000 for our Food Centre!

Lloyd’s Barbeque and the Hormel Corporation have been supporting our Food Centre since 2014. Their support will help us feed thousands of people this year. While the economy appears to  be improving the need for our Food Centre remains consistent.

Support from individuals and businesses like Lloyd’s Barbeque are critical to helping us feed those in need. To learn more about our Food Centre and to support House of Charity, visit:

We appreciate the priority the Hormel Corporation has set on hunger relief and their “On Our Way to Ending Hunger” strategy.   Their goal of ending hunger by nourishing communities with donations, from our local communities to communities all around the world has a profound global impact as well as local impact here in the Twin Cities.  To learn more, visit: reviews House of Charity

The Chemical and Mental Health Treatment program at House of Charity is an excellent gender-specific outpatient treatment option for men and women struggling with substance abuse or a dual diagnosis. Through evidence-based practices facilitated thorough system of phases and sliding scale payment options, treatment at House of Charity is comprehensive, affordable and definitely worth pursuing.

Read full review at

Feed. House. Empower. Volunteer handing a hot meal to a client at House of Charity Food Centre.

Featured in The Journal

House of Charity is highlighted in The Journal article. The Journal is “The News Source for Downtown & Northeast Minneapolis Residents”.

A refuge for those in need

House of Charity has served the poor for more than six decades

Melvin Lewis worked for more than 20 years as a professional bill collector, a job that took an emotional toll on him.

He started hanging around the wrong people, he said, began using crack cocaine and marijuana and was homeless for five months.

“I knew God had something better for me, and I knew it was time to turn around my life,” said Lewis, a Chicago native.

A church in Florida paid for Lewis to bus back to Minnesota, where he enrolled in House of Charity’s outpatient chemical dependency program. He completed the program in April 2014, found an apartment through the nonprofit and started school to become certified as a community health worker.

HOC: the heart for helping the homeless

HOC seeking new Chief Program Director

House of Charity is thrilled to announce a new position available for Chief Program Director. Please help us share this posting. Thank You!
Rodney from Spring Newsletter

Rodney’s Story


Rodney’s Story: Transforming Assumptions

Growing up in the small town of Middleton, in rural Ohio, Rodney struggled with addiction for most of his life.

“Everywhere I went to try to run away from my drug issues, they just followed me.”

Staying clean was an ongoing challenge. During the week he maintained the appearance of control, but by the weekend he was back to partying and using, finding himself penniless by Monday morning. His denial of his addictions kept him from changing. After repeating this cycle over and over Rodney accepted that he needed to change his life trajectory.

“I never saw myself as a ‘drug addict.’ I never got kicked out of a program—in fact, I completed all three—but I was always in denial of my addictions; I would always say, ‘I can stop using,’ but I never could.”

With no treatment centers near his hometown in Ohio, Rodney investigated treatment programs in Minnesota. After two years in different treatment programs in Minnesota, he came to the House of Charity’s Day-by-Day Outpatient Treatment Program where he was accepted into treatment and became a resident in our Transitional Housing Program. House of Charity not only provides temporary housing and treatment but also the opportunity for recovering individuals to rent an apartment and take the first steps toward real independence.

“I just wanted something different; I wanted my life to change, and it has. I owe it all to coming to Minnesota and the treatment I received.”

Rodney transitioned into the Housing First Permanent Supportive Housing Program after completion of the three-step program, eventually moving from the treatment and transitional housing program into his own apartment. He said he owes his success to the staff at House of Charity—particularly his case manager who really invested in his recovery. Even at his lowest points of recovery, when he couldn’t even envision his future, he said House of Charity staff helped him to keep his focus clear and his goal of sobriety in sight.

“Getting sober isn’t a streamlined thing, you have to have the will and the patience to know that it will come, but you have to want it. And I’m not done.

Now living in his own home in a Minneapolis suburb, Rodney is actively pursuing his degree in social work at a local technical college with the long-term hope of being able to help others in Ohio with the same kind of support and help that House of Charity provided to him in his recovery. He is grateful to House of Charity for their help in guiding him to independence and finding a dream and passion to help others.

“I really appreciate House of Charity. It only gets better, and now I feel it. I know it’s going to get better.”

Image of the Northern lights at night

Benefit Concert with Northern Lights Chorale

Benefit pops concert with Northern Lights Chorale

Benefit Pops Concert

Northern Lights Chorale

Date: Saturday, April 23, 2016

Time: 2:00 PM

Location: Christ the King Lutheran Church, 1900 7th St. NW, New Brighton, MN 55112

Free admission! Donations to benefit House of Charity!

Food and Fellowship afterwards!

Come and bring a friend for an enjoyable afternoon of music!


View this video of House of Charity’s Mike Bennett, Director of Volunteer & Outreach Services, discussing the concert with Bruce Phelps, the Director of the Northern Lights Chorale. Mike discusses some of the basics of House of Charity’s mission to “Feed. House. Empower.” (03:06)


Map for HOC concert

Click the Map to open a larger version showing Christ the King Lutheran Church on Google Maps.


About the Director of the Northern Lights Chorale, Bruce Phelps

A 1970 graduate of Concordia College, Bruce taught at Luverne, MN for 5 years, Wayzata MN for 1 year and finished his 34 year teaching career at Anoka High School in Anoka, MN. Bruce earned his Masters Degree in 1978 from Bemidji State University. Bruce was named the Outstanding Music Educator of Minnesota by the National Federation of State High School Associations in 1995. Bruce also received the Outstanding Music Educator Award from the Minnesota Music Education Association for the school year 1999-2000 for his outstanding efforts and leadership in the classroom and beyond. In 2009, Bruce was inducted into the Minnesota Music Educators Hall of Fame.



HOC: the heart for helping the homeless

A Heart for Helping the Homeless


Having a heart for helping the homeless who are recovering from chemical dependency issues, HOC recognizes the need for and value of teaming up our donors’ compassion, with insightful planning, and the will to make a difference through our outpatient day by day program.

It is important to know that with the right programs, people can succeed in staying sober after treatment ends. One example of how this works is seen in this article from the New York Times, which points out the need for finding better ways to serve those that are struggling to find transitional housing while in recovery.

Understanding that no one expects people with chronic diseases like asthma or diabetes to be cured after 30 days in the hospital, we wonder why we generally expect people who are suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol to be able to get better without the time and the tools that match the need. The efforts from our compassionate heart for helping the homeless will be enhanced by adding a strategy that helps people to find a decent place to live during the transitions by using the tools that support sobriety for those in recovery.

Read and share this article that elaborates on this issue. HOC’s Day by Day Outpatient program works with individuals with the understanding it is an on-going “day by day” process and focuses on trauma, mental health, and harm reduction.

A clip from the New York Times article:

Staying Sober After Treatment Ends


The HOC blog entry, "The Heart for Helping the Homeless": A heroin user participates in a program that helps addicts through recovery.

“This heroin user participates in a program that helps addicts through recovery.” Credit John Minchillo/Associated Press


“Getting sober is hard. Making sobriety last is much harder. Most people who go into a residential rehab treatment manage to detox and stay that way during their weeks- or months-long stay. But problems begin when they leave. Many patients walk out the door—and fall off a cliff.

“They go back to their old drinking or drug friends and places. The stresses of normal life resume. And exactly at the moment they need it most, they’re essentially on their own.

Typically, what people have been told to do is go to a lot of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings,” said James McKay, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center on the Continuum of Care in the Addictions. “The usual line is 90 meetings in 90 days, and once-a-week group counseling in some sort of outpatient facility.”

For more of this article, click here:

Take part in homelessness advocacy at the MN State Capital building

Homelessness Advocacy: A Day on the Hill

Save the date and sign up today!

Join House of Charity and participate in Homeless Day on the Hill to raise your political voice in homelessness advocacy.

Talk with your legislators about the vital importance that stable affordable housing has on a person’s independence. ‪#‎Homes4All‬

Homelessness advocacy on homeless day on the hill March 15 2016


Who: Hundreds of Minnesotans from across the state and YOU

What: Advocacy training, legislator meetings, and more!

Where: Central Presbyterian Church and the State Capitol* 

When: Tue March 15, 2016 9am-3pm (registration opens, 8:15am)

Details and Directions:

Central Presbyterian Church
500 Cedar Street
St. Paul, MN 55101

Minnesota State Capitol 
75 Rev. Martin Luther King Drive St. Paul, MN 

We will set up meetings with your legislators. You will receive a packet with your schedule and materials in the morning. Because legislator visits are scheduled for the first two weeks of March, we will post the time and location on our website, Minnesota Day at the Hill allows citizens a chance to take part in homelessness advocacy, seeking to influence the legislature by providing practical and effective ways to show their power to influence the government for positive changes in public policy that effect lives for the better. Take part this March and exercise your democratic rights as citizens!Map to directions to homelessness advocacy locations


Contact: Katie Wagoner
Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless


*The State Capitol is under major construction but lawmakers still need to hear from you. Stay tuned for details about parking and transportation. 

$500,000 check for donation to House of Charity from Bremer Bank and FHLB

Announcing a Generous Donation to HOC’s expansion!

Thank you Federal Home Loan Bank and Bremer Bank for your generous donation to HOC!

Thank you Bremer Bank and Federal Home Loan Bank for awarding a $500,000 donation to HOC and the Community Housing Development Corporation that will go towards our new expansion project in Downtown Minneapolis.

Also, we send our many thanks to Keith Ellison, U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, for your support and advocacy for affordable housing!

At House of Charity, we are honored to be a recipient from the Strong Communities Fund.

This vital support will help us build a new five-story building that is designed from the ground up to meet the needs of people experiencing long-term homelessness, featuring:

  • 65 units of smoke-free, sober, and pet-friendly permanent supportive housing for single adults experiencing long-term homelessness. Some apartments will be reserved for homeless youth and veterans.
  • A new Food Centre with a dramatically improved kitchen and a dining room with large windows to allow more natural light. The Food Centre will continue to feed 350 – 500 people per day.
  • An expanded addiction and mental illness treatment facility with space to double the number of people receiving quality, caring outpatient chemical and mental health services. The new facility will enable us to serve up to 100 people.
  •  New program space will add private meeting rooms that will increase the quality of our case management services.

Affordable Housing Out of Reach at Minimum Wage

In addition to needing to work 68 hours a week, very few one-bedroom apartments are available at a fair market rate of $796 per month. The lack of affordable housing for minimum wage workers contributes to the homelessness crisis. Currently at House of Charity, we have more than 50 men and women on a waiting list for transitional housing in our Permanent Supportive Housing Program. Affordable housing is not available for many people, even if they have a job, whether it is in Minnesota or nationally. As this article from the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless states:


According to the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless: Minnesotans earning minimum wage must work 68 hours a week in order to afford a market rate one-bedroom apartment. If you have kids and need multiple bedrooms, the hours you must work go up tremendously (and the time you can spend helping your children with homework and teaching them about the world plummets). Homelessness isn’t a character flaw, it’s a math problem. We can do better. -SL ‪#‎ProsperMN‬


In Minnesota, the minimum wage is higher than the federal requirement, yet people still would need to work 68 hours a week to find an affordable housing, such as a one-bedroom apartment, without paying more than 30% of their income.


Hours needed by state for affordable housing at minimum wage, which leads to increased homelessness.

For more information, see this article.

Preparing turkeys in HOC kitchen for the holiday meals

Holiday meals a success! Thanks!


House of Charity

hosts  holiday meals!


Thanks to our many volunteers who have donated

their time, hearts, and funds to make the season a special time

and to make our holiday meals possible!

Thanks also to Holy Family Maronite Church for giving gifts for kids!

At House of Charity, we couldn’t do it without you!


Generous sponsors like you allow us to FEED the hungry in Minneapolis, every day of the week, every week of the year, not just on holidays.

House of Charity’s Food Centre provides warm nutritious meals to hungry individuals every day. Over 100,000 meals have already been served so far this year. We strive to feed every person who comes through our doors and with your help we can do that! Whether for holiday meals or daily meals, our nutritious and delicious meals are available, without cost or strings attached.

This holiday season, as you celebrate with family and friends, give the gift of a hot meal to people in need.

Many people in Minneapolis will spend this holiday season cold and hungry but with your help we can make sure that doesn’t happen. Assist us in feeding every person who comes through our door in the coming weeks and more people in the coming year. To donate to House of Charity, click here.

Our work continues all year round and your generosity helps us to continue our mission.

See this news article from the on how to help the homeless this holiday season.

“Shop Minneapolis” Holiday Giving Tree

We thank Meet Minneapolis for selecting  to be the beneficiary of the Giving Tree at the new Minneapolis Visitors Center!

HOC Giving tree

For more information, check out this news release about the new Visitor Center.

Practical Needs for Personal Hygiene Products

Can you help with a donation of toiletries for our clients?

Medicine cabinet shelves

At this time of year, at House of Charity, we get calls about whether or not we need toiletries for the clients. When we are thinking of the giving of gifts and the giving of thanks, why not help out HOC by donating to resupply our cupboards with the everyday personal and practical hygiene products that we so often take for granted?

The donations could be set up as part of a family, religious, or work-group project, bringing together the givers around an act of practical compassion that makes a difference in the day-to-day lives of real people.

So, what is our current stock of supplies? We could always use more toiletries. We currently have small bottles of shampoo and conditioner (2-3 boxes remaining) and toothbrushes (1 1/2 boxes) to provide to HOC residents and shower guests.

We receive lots of requests from our clients for tooth paste, wash cloths, soap, feminine products (tampons, pads), razors for men, deodorant, and socks.

Email Lesley A. Chester, Fund Development and Communications Director, at House of Charity, or call at 612-594-2003

2015 Annual Uptown Coffee Festival

On Saturday, November 21st, 2015, the 26th Annual Uptown Coffee Festival will be held at Calhoun Square from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.  The Uptown Coffee Festival is hosted by Kitchen Window.  More than 3,000 people come to sample coffee, tea, cocoa, and gourmet food at more than 40 tasting stations.
For the past 5 years, Kitchen Window has selected House of Charity as the beneficiary of this event.  As the beneficiary, House of Charity receives a portion of the proceeds from the $10 admission fee, 100% of the raffle tickets sales, and a portion of the proceeds from an exclusive demonstration by Kitchen Window.


Uptonw Coffee Festival 2015

Give to the Max Day!

Give to the Max Day is the great Minnesota give-together: a day when thousands of Minnesotans raise millions of dollars for local nonprofits.



We have a goal of $10,000 to purchase 10 new bed units for our Transitional Housing Program. The cost for a complete unit is $1,058 and includes a steel bed frame, mattress and underbed storage unit.


How can I support House of Charity on Give to the Max Day?

To support House of Charity on Give to the Max Day, simply visit
our “Give to the Max” donate page and make a contribution.


Special Leaderboard Prizes for 10 Non-profits:

The 10 nonprofits that raise the most money in each category during Give to the Max Day will receive an additional prize grant. Help House of Charity get onto the leaderboard!

  • First place: $10,000
  • Second place: $7,500
  • Third place: $5,000
  • Fourth place: $2,500
  • Fifth place: $1,000

Golden Tickets

Every hour, a nonprofit will be awarded a $1,000 prize grant through a random drawing of al donations made during the previous hour.

Additionally, two “Super-Sized” Golden Tickets of $10,000 will be awarded. The first will be drawn from all donations scheduled between November 1 and November 11, 2015. The second will be drawn from all donations made on November 12, 2015, Give to the Max Day.

About GiveMN

GiveMN is a Minnesota-based nonprofit organizatino dedicated to transforming philanthropy in Minnesota by growing overall giving and moving more of it online. More information on GiveMN is available at


A Look at Hunger in Our Neighborhood

As one of our generous supporters, you affect the lives of the more than 350 people who visit our Food Centre every day. We depend upon you to serve the hungry in the Minneapolis area.

Despite the improved economy, hunger and the need for meals every day has increased. We have served almost 2000 more people so far this year than we did in 2014. Thirty-nine percent of the 6,769 individuals served so far in 2015 said the lunch provided by House of Charity’s Food Centre was their only meal of the day.

Through a continuing partnership with Second Harvest Heartland, a Minneapolis-based food bank, just 50¢ provides a hot nutritious meal for an individual through our Food Centre.

Tanks to your support, we make sure everyone who comes to the Food Centre receives the nourishment they need.

HOC graphic, meals per day

Article from our Fall “Beats” Newsletter

Hunger Action month: Double your impact!

We have served 2,000 more meals so far this year compared to 2014!

Despite the improvements in our economy, House of Charity has witnessed an increased need for our free public meal program at our Food Centre.

Sounds like love.” Daisy Rose says about the atmosphere at the Food Centre. Sometimes the meal at the Food Centre is her only meal that day. “I’m comfortable with the amount of food and am very thankful.”

Daisy Rose was a nurse for 19 years, but her MS symptoms worsened and she could no longer work. Living on a fixed income, she is a regular at the Food Centre as she often doesn’t have enough to buy food after bills are paid.

HOC graphic, Mosaic donations 2015

So, lucky for you (and our diners!), Mosaic will now match your donation!

When surveyed in February 2015, 39% of our Food Centre diners stated that the meal they received is likely the only food they will consume that day.  Just like Daisy Rose, that means 136 or more diners, out of our average 350 diners, would have gone without food for the day.

Our Free Public Meal at the Food Centre is funded entirely from donations from people like you! The food expense to feed one person is $0.50. So, for example, $25.00 will feed 50 people.

The Mosaic Company has renewed their challenge match. So every new and increased donation will be matched.

Now, a donation of $25.00 will feed 100 people thanks to you and Mosaic!

Double your impact with our matching gift opportunity,
provided by:



Mosaic logo


The Logo for Mosaic Company

Mosaic’s Generous “Double Your Gift!”

Mosaic has renewed their generous challenge match!

Special thanks to The Mosaic Company for renewing a 1:1 challenge match on all new and increased donations up to $20,000.

Double your gift today! Click here to donate to House of Charity and match your gift!

Dine to Donate!

House of Charity has a fun dine-out for a cause

at Granite City in St. Louis Park on May 28.


Click the image (below) to print your own copy of the flyer to take to get your donation:

House of Charity JPEG

House of Charity Heart, to give, contribute, feed, house, empower with a heart of charity

House of Charity is Expanding!

With more permanent supportive housing with case management services to address each person’s barriers to maintaining housing, the more people will be independent and no longer homeless,” said Bert Winkel.

When a person is placed into permanent supportive housing it opens up a bed in transitional housing, which opens up a bed at a homeless shelter, which then takes one more person off street.”

House of Charity Purchases Finance and Commerce Property

Minneapolis, Minnesota (April 22, 2015) – House of Charity is pleased to announce the purchase of the Finance and Commerce property at 615 South 7th Street, Minneapolis. The property is adjacent to the House of Charity Food Centre located at 714 Park Avenue South. The partners in this purchase include the Twin Cities Community Land Bank and Community Housing Development Corporation.

The purchase is the springboard for much needed expansion of House of Charity. “The lack of affordable, permanent supportive housing continues to be a barrier for the homeless population we serve at House of Charity,” said Bert Winkel, Executive Director. “In order for our organization to continue to meet the needs of people experiencing long-term homelessness in the community, we must expand.”

The new development project includes a five story building with a new Food Centre space, expanded Day by Day Outpatient Recovery Program, and administrative offices on the first and second floors. Floors three through five will have 65 new Permanent Supportive Housing studio apartments for long-term homeless single adults. The building will include a large private deck on the 5th floor for the residents and off-sidewalk queueing space for Food Centre guests.

House of Charity will be seeking tax credit funding through Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) with construction optimally set to begin in spring 2016.

Affordable housing paired with supportive services is a proven strategy that increases housing stability. In Minneapolis and around the state, there is a shortage of permanent supportive housing options for people ready to make the next step toward self-sufficiency and independence.


A combination of low vacancy rates, low wages, and a lack of funding in Minneapolis has created one of the worst affordable rental shortages in more than a decade for low-income renters.”
(MinnPost: “Minneapolis renters face huge affordable-housing shortage,” 01/14/14)

Increased unemployment, stagnated wages and home foreclosures from the Great Recession added more people to the growing homeless population and added to the waiting lists for permanent supportive and affordable housing, while rental prices increased.”
(MinnPost: “Minneapolis renters face huge affordable-housing shortage,” 01/14/14)

In Hennepin County, for every 100 extremely low-income renters there are now 34 units that are affordable and available.”
(National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) 
analysis of CHAS data, 2006-10)

THANK YOU Volunteers!!

In honor of National Volunteer Appreciation Week, House of Charity is grateful to the wonderful service provided by our amazing volunteers.

Thanks to our 2,914 volunteers contributing 5,701 hours of service, we provided 135,383 meals at our Food Centre.

Thank you, to our faithful volunteers!!


THANK YOU to our Civic Group Volunteers!!

House of Charity appreciates your dedication of building and serving the community. Thank you for your mission of service and volunteerism. See more of this post on Facebook.

THANK YOU to our Corporate Volunteer Groups!!

House of Charity appreciates your investment in community by making it a priority for your employees to get involved and volunteer! See more of this post on Facebook

THANK YOU to our Faith Community Volunteers!!

House of Charity is blessed to have many groups from our faith community giving their time and talents to serving others. See more of this post on Facebook.

THANK YOU to our Family Volunteers!!

House of Charity appreciates your family’s dedication to strengthening your family by serving the community together. Thank you for choosing House of Charity for your family time! See more of this post on Facebook.

THANK YOU to our School and Youth Group Volunteers!!

House of Charity appreciates your dedication to learning through service to others. Thank you for choosing House of Charity as your service classroom. See more of this post on Facebook.

THANK YOU to our Volunteer Board Members and Interns!!

House of Charity appreciates your leadership, dedication, and support of our mission to feed, house and empower through your gifts of your time, talents, and treasure!
See more of this post on Facebook.

Legislative Agenda

Homes for All

An investment of $39 million would serve communities across the state:

• Reduce chronic homelessness, hence reducing the cost of jails, emergency rooms, shelter, and detox facilities.

• Every public dollar invested in supportive housing returns $1.44.

• Prevent and end homelessness for an additional 4,836 households and develop or rehabilitate over 280 apartments and single family homes.

• Improve educational outcomes for students without stable housing.

Prosperity for All

Increase MFIP cash assistance by $100 per month using TANF funds. This would be the first increase since 1986.

Call to Action
Please call or e-mail your Legislator to let them know you support the “Homes for All” and “Prosperity for All 2015” Legislative Agendas
[box]Script: “I strongly support Homes for All and the $100 per month increase in MFIP. Will you join me in supporting them as well?”[/box] To find out who represents you go to:

Thank you for your support and advocacy!

By the Numbers

House of Charity’s Housing First program is a permanent supportive housing program where our clients move into their own permanent apartments. In 2014 Housing First housed 117 people, and the program has met and surpassed our goals.

Goal from our Spring 2014 Newsletter:

Our goal is to continue to develop partnerships and register several buildings so clients do not have to wait for a permanent place to call Home.”

90 % of clients housed in the beginning of 2014 have stayed in their homes or have taken over their own lease


Moving even further forward, this past year we had 20 clients completely exit the Housing First program, 14 of which were fully independent. 11 clients are employed and 17 clients are in school pursuing an Associates or Bachelors education.





House of Charity Heart, to give, contribute, feed, house, empower with a heart of charity

Edmund’s Story: Life and Lessons

“I got to see and learn a lot during my travels.” From Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, and finally to Minnesota; Edmund has been many places and seen many things. Still his vivaciousness for life is infectious. Edmund’s story starts in 1988.

My mom passed away when I was 17 years old, and I guess that’s really when my homelessness started. I was in the house alone and without guidance I turned to partying.”

Bills started to pile up and finally his sister took over the house. The next ten years Edmund describes as “wild”. Even during this time Edmund knew this was not the life he wanted to lead and that addiction did not define him.

“It was like, man, this is not me. Nobody knows who I am now; I don’t even know who I am now. An addict, no, I’m not an addict. I’m better than this.”

Edmund decided to go home and two years later took a job with the lumber yard that brought him to Minnesota. Unfortunately the lumber yard closed its doors and Edmund found himself back on the streets.

This time was different for Edmund. His first winter here he noticed how clean Minneapolis was and appreciated the helping hand Minnesota offered.

“I took the opportunity to say, I’m going to stay here, I’m going to do better here.”

A change of heart and willingness to better his life unfortunately was not enough. For a few more years Edmund struggled in and out of overnight shelters and treatment centers. From 2008 to 2012 Edmund tried four to five different treatment centers.

[quote]In 2012 Edmund came to House of Charity. He credits House of Charity with helping him get back on his feet.[/quote]

“I finally settled down my heart when I got into the House of Charity.”

Edmund stayed at House of Charity for 18 months and in March of 2014 entered the Housing First program. He now has a one bedroom apartment and in 2013 started school at a local community technical college. Edmund says,

“House of Charity really was the turning point, when I came here. I made it through, and really life is just beginning.”

Edmund is working toward an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts and plans to transfer to a state university to pursue a Bachelor Degree in Social Work.

“I think about all the counseling I have received over the years, and I just want to make a difference. Hopefully I can reach one person at a time.”

Edmund’s experience at House of Charity has given him the tools to think about the decisions he makes and navigate hardships when they occur.

“Even though I may not create the hardships I have to learn how to deal with them as they come. If I can deal with them wholesomely, I’ll make it through.”

Edmund’s Housing First Advocate is a believer in taking stock of small accomplishments to realize your full potential. Edmund exemplifies this motto. Since Edmund’s time with House of Charity he takes on life one step at a time.

“I believe that I am still at a certain level of “homelessness”. I’m not self-sustained; until I’m there I will always feel a little bit “homeless”. I have a stepping stone and some breathing room and I’m moving in a wholesome direction. The day is coming to where I can call up the State and say “wow, I’m okay”.”

Edmund wants to encourage House of Charity to stand by their mission statement. He believes in what House of Charity does. He believes House of Charity is here to encourage people and wants to let House of Charity know how much that means to him and to other people he knows.

“Your life doesn’t have to end because you’re homeless. There is a way back. I understand hardships are going to continue to come. Because of House of Charity, I now have the tools to say this is a hardship, I can get through this. I got through the gutter, I can get through this.”

Pictureof HOC staff collecting blankets donated

“For the Love of Peyton” Blanket Party Donations

Hundreds of lovingly hand-tied blankets were made on Saturday, February 7, 2015, during the 10th Annual “For the Love of Peyton” Blanket Party.

House of Charity board members and staff participated in the blanket making event (pictured are Bert Winkel, Executive Director, Lesley Chester, Fund Development and Communications Director, and Linda Brooks (Lesley’s mom).


One of our major supporters and her family created this marvelous event of making blankets and donating them to organizations working with sick children and the homeless.

For the past few years, House of Charity has received numerous blankets from the event to give to our clients. This week, House of Charity received nearly 100 blankets to dispense to clients! We are truly grateful for the support of the “For the Love of Peyton” Blanket Party and their dedication to helping provide comfort to those in need.


To learn more, visit

Martin Luther King in contemplative pose

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

What is the MLK Day of Service?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'”

Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities.

The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President’s national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems.

From the website,

Uptown Coffee Festival is Supporting House of Charity!

Join us for the Uptown Coffee Festival Saturday November 22nd 10:00 AM!

At: Kitchen Window and Calhoun Square


Kitchen Window, Nespresso, and Calhoun Square join forces with us, at House of Charity, to help raise enough money to feed over 10,000 people.

This popular event, the 25th Annual Uptown Coffee Festival, will take place on November 22, from 10 am to 3 pm, at Calhoun Square.

For only $10, coffee aficionados receive a limited edition 25th Annual Uptown Coffee Festival mug and access to vendors—samples include a large variety of coffee and teas, breads and desserts, plus a number of other tasty surprises! Admission also gives attendees access to the day’s educational seminars as well as some fun entertainment.

A great event for gathering with family and friends, the Uptown Coffee Festival is an annual tradition with something for everyone.

House of Charity Heart, to give, contribute, feed, house, empower with a heart of charity

Wells Fargo Food Center Volunteer Profile

Several years ago, Kip was introduced to the House of Charity Food Centre through a volunteer opportunity with his employer, Wells Fargo. The experience volunteering at House of Charity, combined with Kip’s long-time passion for giving back to the community, led him to build a team of his colleagues to begin serving on a monthly basis.


Kip was drawn to the organization because, in his words, “They have their doors wide open” to the public.  Additionally, one reason Kip has continued volunteering at the Food Centre is the structure. He states, “It gives people a good meal and a safe place to eat it.” In his interactions with the people at the Food Centre, Kip explains that recipients of meals are always very polite and appreciative.


Kip also explained that as volunteers, “you are ambassadors to the organization.” He challenges volunteers to get to know the other volunteers with whom they serve and to develop a sense of community. Kip explains, “As volunteers, we get as much out of the experience of serving, as we put into it.”

A New Start

Phillip, a devoted father and husband, moved with his wife and children from Chicago to Minneapolis on November 12, 2013, to try and provide a better life for all of them. Unfortunately, the move did not provide the opportunity, on its own, to change the family’s circumstances. While initially Phillip and his wife had a goal of moving to Duluth, financial circumstances forced them to stay in Minneapolis. Though he was committed to seeking out a better life for his family, alcohol and drug use interfered with Phillip’s efforts and eventually led to a domestic assault charge.


Following that charge, Phillip was required to attend treatment beginning in January of 2014. He was initially skeptical about the Day by Day program, but eventually became committed to the program.  When asked about the change, he explained, “Counselors and case workers will help you the first few times, after that, you have to help yourself.” He realized the importance of changing his habits in order to better himself and his family. While he was attending the program, he also lived in House of Charity’s transitional housing facility.


By mid-2014, Phillip had completed the court ordered treatment through the Day by Day program. When reflecting on his treatment, Phillip gives credit to his case worker and counselor for their genuine care and support, commenting that the staff at House of Charity, “really put things together to help support you,” and that support had previously been absent from his life since his parents had passed away. Following his completion of the Day by Day program, Phillip and his family were able to move back together into a permanent housing solution.


Since completing the program, Phillip has completed two programs through Urban Ventures. The eight-week programs focused on areas of Responsible Parenting and Healthy Relationships and Marriage.  Phillip received certification for these programs on June 18th and July 3rd, respectively. Additionally, he has voluntarily continued ongoing support through the Continuing Care program at House of Charity, which he completed on August 6th.


Since moving to Minneapolis, he has also become very actively involved in the Inner City Church of Minneapolis. Phillip was recently baptized and in addition to attending service with his family every Sunday, he also has begun volunteering with the church. In such a short time, Phillip has accomplished many things which show his determination; not only that, but he has also shown a greater commitment to raising his growing family.


When asked about how this journey affected his family, Phillip said “I had to get better for myself, and my kids can look up to me now.” Phillip’s counselor shared that during the time he was attending his continuing care program at House of Charity, he would sit at his kitchen table, and while his children completed their homework, he would complete his assignments, as well. He is grateful for the ability to spend more time with his family; prior to his treatment, he was often absent from the home.


Phillip is seeking the opportunity to work towards completing his GED and eventually a Culinary Arts degree. The family is also a current candidate for a new home with Habitat for Humanity. Phillip remains grateful for the support of House of Charity and its staff. He is an advocate of programs at House of Charity because, in his words, “It works!”  He gives recognition to his case manager and counselor for their commitment to him and the other clients. He explains: “They didn’t need me, I needed them” in order to succeed in positive life change.

The Logo for Mosaic Company

Double Your Gift!

The House of Charity has received a generous challenge match!

Special thanks to The Mosaic Company for offering a 1:1 challenge match on all new and increased donations up to $20,000.


Double your gift today! Click here to donate to House of Charity and match your gift!


At the Capitol—Spring 2014

In addition to our internal efforts to provide more permanent supportive housing, House of Charity is actively involved in legislative advocacy to address solutions for homelessness. The year 2014 marks the second session of Homes for All, an alliance that works to advance policy initiatives that lead to housing stability in Minnesota. This year, the Prosperity for All alliance was created out of the state’s dire need for policy reform of the Minnesota Family Investment Program’s (MFIP) participation restrictions. Each alliance has its own legislative agenda and accompanying bill proposal.

Home is the foundation for stable families, strong communities, and a competitive state.


The “Homes for All” Bill requests $100 million in bonds for investments in affordable housing. Statewide funding would be awarded through the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and used for:

1. Building and rehabilitating supportive housing.

    * Creating affordable housing options for extremely low-income Minnesotans including families with children, homeless youth, veterans, seniors, and people with disabilities.

* Leveraging private funding to build supportive housing – a proven strategy to reduce long-term homelessness by combing affordable housing with supportive services. (Like House of Charity)

2. Preserving and rehabilitating federally assisted affordable housing.

    * Preserving rural units at risk of losing federal subsidy due to disrepair.

* Rehabilitating aging public housing, operated in over 200 communities across the state.

3. Stabilizing communities impacted by the foreclosure crisis.

    * Rehabilitating deteriorating buildings and foreclosed homes.

* Increasing rental and home-ownership opportunities for low and middle-income Minnesotans.

The return on investment is impressive. Every public dollar invested in supportive housing returns $1.44 to taxpayers.

The “Prosperity for All” MFIP Workforce Education Bill works for the advancement of public policies that better serve striving families while helping Minnesota’s economy and requests the reduction of barriers to Adult Basic Education, higher education, and English Language Learning (ELL).
The passage of this bill would accomplish:

    • Allowing MFIP participants to earn a GED/diploma as an approved work activity;

• Allowing MFIP participants to enroll in 4-year, post-secondary-education programs;

• Giving new graduates the flexibility to job search for 12 weeks, rather than 6 weeks;

• Removing barriers to enrolling in ELL classes for those who are learning English as a second language.

The “Prosperity for All” Bill is good for education, employers, and the economy:

Increased education leads to increased earnings– Between 1975 and 2005, wages for those with college and advanced degrees rose by 22% and 29%. Wages for high school graduates stagnated and those without high school degrees fell by 16% (Baum & Ma, “Education Pays: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society,” 2007)

House of Charity is proud to be among the organizations across Minnesota that have signed on in support of these alliances. Additionally, our staff and clients advocated for these bills with their Senators and Representatives at the State Capitol on March 6th during Homeless Day on the Hill which was organized by Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless. For more information on these bills, go to:

Moving Forward with Determination and Gratitude: Jennifer’s Story

I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for House of Charity.  My family would have buried me two years ago—I would have frozen to death in my car.”

Jennifer had been living in her car for two years before finally asking for help from her primary care physician who referred her to House of Charity. About eight years ago, Jennifer suffered a horrible accident. She was out shopping for last-minute stocking stuffers for Christmas when a drunk driver sped through the Walgreens’ parking lot, striking her as she was walking to her car. She was crushed up against another car. After suffering severe trauma to her body, especially her back, Jennifer was released from the hospital after a few days and returned to work.

Jennifer worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at two assisted-living facilities for the elderly, a field she loved and had been working in for 18 years. She continued to work her regular schedules at both jobs and ignored the constant pain she continued to experience since the accident.

A few years later, Jennifer slipped and fell on concrete, landing on her back. This new injury compounded with her previous injury that never healed forced Jennifer to have necessary back surgery. Jennifer was now disabled and could not work. With her limited disability income, she lost her home. She moved what furniture she could in to storage and began living in her car.

In the winter of 2012, Jennifer knew she needed help. Jennifer admits to being hesitant at first to ask for help and then even more so when it came time to actually set foot in House of Charity. She drove by and suddenly felt compelled to come in. She said that right off the bat, she was welcomed and treated with compassion and respect from House of Charity staff . There were not any openings for Jennifer right away, but a month later, the Intake Coordinator called her and notified her that there was a place for her if she still needed a place to stay. The next day, Jennifer moved in to House of Charity. She quickly moved from our transitional housing residence to her own apartment in our Housing First program. Jennifer began working with her Case Manager in our Transitional Housing Program and began taking Housing First classes right away. In the five-course series, she learned about rental leases and landlord/renter relations, budgeting, how to be a good neighbor, and the challenges of living alone. She was determined to get on her feet, get her own place, and start living life again. She appreciated her Case Manager’s open door policy and how she went to bat for her when it came time to find Jennifer an apartment. Jennifer was in our Transitional Housing Program for five months before moving on to our Housing First Program.

Jennifer has a great relationship with her Housing First Advocate. They meet weekly and since Jennifer can no longer drive, her Advocate also goes above and beyond by taking her to regular doctor’s appointments. Jennifer said that if she didn’t have the support of her Advocate along with her housing, she would not have been able to make it. Her Advocate also helps Jennifer deal with her mental health and self-esteem issues; she helps her find resources, with activities of daily living, and with goal-setting. Currently, Jennifer, with the support of her Housing First Advocate, is exploring where to go from here and how to change professions. Jennifer is devastated by the fact that she cannot physically perform the work that she enjoyed doing for so many years as a Certified Nursing Assistant. It has been difficult to figure out employment as Jennifer can neither sit nor stand for long periods of time and has to walk with a cane. Jennifer would like to continue to work in healthcare and is looking in to relative education and training options. She is currently coming up on her one year anniversary of being in her own apartment.

Jennifer remains grateful to House of Charity and optimistic for the future. The advice she gives to those in similar situations that she was in is to ask for help and remember that House of Charity doesn’t want you to fail.

“It can be so simple,” she says, “take the classes that they offer, meet with your Case Manager/Advocate, do the paperwork, and just follow the rules…you’ll be on your feet in no time.”

Uptown Coffee Festival

For over two decades, Kitchen Window’s Uptown Coffee Festival has been an extremely popular event, drawing more than 1,000 Twin Cities residents to the Uptown area each year. House of Charity is pleased to announce that for the third year in a row, we have been named as the charity partner and will receive a portion of the event’s proceeds!

This year, the 24th Annual Uptown Coffee Festival will take place on November 23, from 10 am to 3 pm, at Calhoun Square.

For only $10, coffee aficionados receive a limited edition 24th Annual Uptown Coffee Festival mug and access to vendors—samples include a large variety of coffee and teas, breads and desserts, plus a number of other tasty surprises! Admission also gives attendees access to the day’s educational seminars as well as some fun entertainment.

NEW THIS YEAR: House of Charity will be raffling off a Nespresso Citiz with Milk Prize Package valued at $500! Raffle tickets may be purchased for $5 each.

A great event for gathering with family and friends, the Uptown Coffee Festival is an annual tradition with something for everyone. Find out more on the Calhoun Square website.

Instilling Hope One to Another

A Compilation of Stories & Experiences from Food Centre Guests

CJ: When CJ first came to the Food Centre she was homeless and looking for community resources. CJ knew that she needed to do something positive to get out of the lifestyle she was in, so she started school at MCTC and began volunteering at the Food Centre. CJ does anything and everything at the Food Centre, from greeting people to cleaning up, but she especially enjoys talking with others, “I just want to make the people who come here feel welcome and have hope in their lives.” CJ also makes sure that children and the disabled get their meals. Now, CJ is still in school, majoring in Addiction Counseling, has her own apartment, and volunteers and eats at the Food Centre on a regular basis. She is very appreciative of the support she has received from the Food Centre staff and hopes to further her involvement with House of Charity, perhaps as a Day by Day treatment program intern.

Daisy Rose: “Sounds like Love,” Daisy Rose says about the Food Centre. Sometimes the meal at the Food Centre is her only meal that day. “I’m comfortable with the amount of food and very thankful.” Daisy Rose was a nurse for 19 years, but her MS symptoms worsened and she could no longer work. When she lost her job in 2011, Daisy Rose spent her 401K on living and medical expenses. In addition to dining with us, she volunteers her time at the Food Centre; she likes everyone, knows people, and says it’s consistent with her upbringing: “we all work together.” She’s one of the regulars who helps Walter, a paraplegic guest, to eat lunch and notes that she is very grateful for House of Charity.

The Tiger Family- Julie, Nate, Daniel, & Baby: When Nate lost his job last spring in Duluth, the family was devastated financially and they quickly lost their apartment. They came to Burnsville to stay with family, but that was an alcoholic and abusive place where people directed their anger towards four year old Daniel. So, the family camped out this summer, in their van and area parks. They’ve had to resort to Nate staying at a men’s shelter while Julie and the kids live at a family shelter to save money and find jobs. Daniel likes the meat and cheeses at the Food Centre and most of all he loves meeting his friend Claire at the weekend brunch. Julie commented, “It’s great to be with other people who’ve been humbled by the world.” Julie is hopeful that by winter, both she and Nate will have jobs and a place to call home.

Two Minutes With…Michael Bennett, Director of Volunteer & Outreach Services


Mike has worked at House of Charity for over 10 years. His current title is Outreach and Volunteer Director, but he started as the Food Service Manager. Over the course of a decade, faces and programs have changed, but the need for assistance, sadly, is stronger than ever. “Ultimately, the goal of any agency which provides basic needs is to hang a sign that reads ‘closed, due to lack of customers’” Mike states.“If that sign were to be hung here, that would mean we don’t have people who need food, housing, or treatment. Sadly, we haven’t hung that sign in the ten years I have been here, nor the sixty years we have been an agency.”

When looking at ten years with one agency, the question of what keeps you coming back isn’t uncommon. “For me, it’s the tangibility.” Mike answered. “Take the Food Centre for example, you can look at the meal count and see that 422 people ate lunch today because of House of Charity. That food was made here and served here. For all we know, that was the only meal that someone will eat all day. And the same concept applies to Housing and Treatment too.”

While he has run the Food Centre in the past, Mike’s primary job function now is to be a voice in the community as to how House of Charity provides assistance to those in need. “I do a lot of presentations at businesses, civic groups, churches, and to our volunteers. I do my best to present realism to our stakeholders, and explain that the issues of homelessness, hunger, and need are as strong here in Minnesota as they are in Chicago or New York. The majority of us don’t want to acknowledge how close we are to needing assistance. But, it is hard for me to ignore reality when someone explains that they have only $80 for the month to buy food and personal items. They aren’t a composite story on the news. That person is here, in front of us as staff, and I try my best to relay that story to the groups I meet.”

At the end of his presentations, Mike uses a common closing; “I suggest, if nothing else, to say hello to people. By acknowledging someone’s humanity, simply saying hello, you may time stamp their week. For many of the people we serve, today feels a lot like last Tuesday. It may not seem like much, but the fact that a person didn’t walk past them as if they were a parking meter or a trash can might make their day, week or even longer. It’s really quite simple to do.”

Mike finishes by mentioning a meeting he was at a few months back. “We were asked what our legacy would be. As in, if we never came back to our position, what would we be remembered for? I hope mine would be that everyone matters. I give as much effort in getting to know someone in the meal line as I would to a CEO of a major corporation. I encourage everyone I meet to do the same. When a long-time volunteer asks ‘what happened to Bill, Eric, or Jane’ I know we are doing something right at HOC. One of our guests or our clients mattered enough for that volunteer to remember them, and ask about them. A connection was made. Often in our lives, we forget that we can positively impact people with our actions. It is pretty rewarding to see those positive interactions take place here every day.”

Cities 97 Basilica Block Party—Enter to Win 2 Tickets for Saturday Night!

Win two tickets to Saturday Night at The Basilica Block Party, compliments of House of Charity.

What do the Basilica Block Party and House of Charity have in common?

Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty!

In 2010, Rob Thomas and his wife Marisol, through their Sidewalk Angels Foundation, made a gift to support the work of House of Charity.  While on tour to raise funds for the Foundation, Rob gave a shout out to House of Charity during his solo concert at Grand Casino Hinckley:

We are grateful for the Foundation’s support and recognition.  Now that Rob is back in town with Matchbox Twenty, we want to share the love.

We are giving away two general admission tickets to night 2 of the Basilica Block Party to be held July 13, 2013!

All you have to do to be entered into the free drawing is to fill out the form below.

BONUS: Be entered TWICE if you submit the form AND tell us why you support House of Charity on Facebook or Twitter!

Tweet us @HouseofCharity on Twitter!

Mention us in a status update or post on our wall on Facebook!

All entries must be received by midnight on July 10th.  One name will be drawn at random from all entries.  The winner will be notified on July 11th.

Night 2 entertainment:

Sun Country Stage:  Matchbox Twenty, Goo Goo Dolls, Kate Earl

Church Stage:  Rafael Saadiq, Walk the Moon, Cloud Cult

VitaMn Stage: On An On, Van Zee, Bomba De Luz

You do not want to miss this opportunity!!

Already going to be there or have other plans for the 13th?  Share this with your family/friends/colleagues and give them a chance!


Helping Others Navigate out of Homelessness: Denise’s Story

Denise found herself homeless in 2006 when she was evicted for not paying the rent—she had used her money for drugs and alcohol, instead.  Over the course of the next six years, Denise struggled.  She lived in friends’ homes, emergency shelters, treatment centers, and sober housing. Unfortunately, she did not maintain her sobriety and was taken to detox on more than one occasion.  Again, she lost her housing.

Denise went to the Salvation Army, determined to get back on her feet. She got a full-time job as a telemarketer. Every day she would bring all of her belongings to work in bags and stick them under her desk. So as not to appear homeless, she pretended that she was planning to work out in the evenings and had brought her gear.  She would go back to the Salvation Army night after night.  This daily routine became stressful and Denise began drinking again.

Denise came to House of Charity on November 1, 2012.  She is moving into her own apartment at the end of March through our Housing First program.  Denise credits her case manager for helping her find housing.  She feared that her past would prevent anyone from renting to her.  In 2001, Denise was charged with a felony for driving under the influence, and was sentenced to house arrest and work release.  Although the felony was reduced to a misdemeanor three years later, Denise was afraid that landlords would not accept her once they did a background check. Denise’s case manager, Erin, made her feel that her obstacles were not insurmountable.  Denise was upfront with the landlords about what they would find in her background report and explained the circumstances.  Denise believes Erin did an amazing job as her case manager, but she stresses that you have to be proactive as a client, as well.

Denise completed treatment through House of Charity’s Day by Day program.  She trusted her counselor, Sarah, and found her very caring.  She provided the guidance Denise needed.  Now, Denise feels that she has put together a strong support system and a solid plan to help keep herself from relapsing.

Denise believes that her faith is the only reason she is here today.  In addition to staff at House of Charity, her support system includes three spiritual mentors, a group of friends she made through a drop-in women’s group at Central Lutheran Church, and a Christian Twelve Step program.

Her plan includes staying busy.  She currently sits on the Catholic Charities Opportunity Center Advisory Council and volunteers there twice a week as a “system navigator.”  When she was first homeless, Denise did not know where to turn.  Now, she has a passion for wanting to help people who are in the same situation.  She knows the value of taking one step at a time and identifying small attainable goals that can get you where you want to go.  One of Denise’s goals is to write and produce her own plays for a faith-based recovery theater.  To cope with growing up in a challenging home environment, Denise became the funny girl.  She defaulted to humor and she always wanted to act.

Denise attended William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri, and holds a BFA in Fine Arts. She spent her senior year in New York City studying and working for a talent agency. Following school, she acted in improvisational theater, including a murder mystery dinner theater for 10 years. She eventually became its director of operations. Denise feels like she is becoming de-mummified – unraveling to uncover the woman God intended her to be. She is firm in knowing that, now, she needs to take care of herself. She needs to forgive herself and not dwell on her past. Her advice to others is to recognize that life is full of choices and sometimes we make choices out of fear. She has learned that you have to face the fear. To conquer it, perhaps you have to believe in something bigger than yourself. At the end of the day, it’s not how you fall down that defines you, it’s how you get up. One of the best compliments Denise has received is when someone told her, “No matter what happens to you, you get up and dust yourself off!”

Thank You, In-Pulse CPR!


In-Pulse CPR donated CPR, First Aid, and Blood Borne Pathogen training to all of our staff!  We are so grateful to be able to continue to provide a safe and respectful environment here at House of Charity for our employees, clients, and guests.

Thank you, In-Pulse CPR!

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Second Chances: Bethany’s Story

Don’t be afraid to ask for second chances. You may be afraid, but you may be surprised at what you can accomplish.”

On September 6th, House of Charity participated in Operation Recovery 2012: Erasing Stigmas, an event held on the campus of Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) and sponsored by their student-led Addiction Counseling Club.

We were delighted to take part, especially since the invitation came from one of our former residents!

Bethany had lived at House of Charity for several months in 2010.  She regards House of Charity and her time here as a nice stepping stone.  Having housing and food allowed Bethany to stabilize her life, “I looked for work. I didn’t have to look for a safe place to live. I was fed here.”

As an undergraduate at Bethel University studying on a vocal scholarship, Bethany was viciously attacked while running on campus.  Soon afterward, she left the school. “I lost my faith,” Bethany stated simply.

Bethany began using drugs.  She was in a long-term relationship with a man who also used.  Together, they had four children, including one set of twins.  Because she was found to be using in the home, Bethany’s children were taken away.  To allow her children to move out of the foster care system, Bethany voluntarily gave custody to the children’s paternal grandmother, but kept her parental rights.  Bethany expected the grandmother to maintain communication between her and her children, but Bethany has not seen nor heard from them in nearly four years.  All of the cards and letters she has written to them have been returned.  Bethany is pursuing legal assistance, but it takes time and resources.  In the meantime, her children are growing older – now 11, 10, and 9 (the twins).

While she was using, Bethany broke the law for money.  As a result, Bethany was imprisoned in 2009.  She had a year of sobriety in prison.  Soon after she was released, she came to House of Charity.  Now, two years later, Bethany is taking classes at MCTC to become a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, with an emphasis on art therapy.  An artist herself, Bethany sells her work and has exhibited at the Fine Line Music Café.  Bethany knows firsthand how art can lead to healing. “Some of my worst moments in life have come through to make great paintings; I am a rape survivor and my piece ‘Holy Trinity’ came from that experience.”

She hopes to help others escape the pain and consequences of addiction.  When asked what advice she would give to current House of Charity residents, Bethany quickly responded, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Utilize your resources.  The more education you can get, the better, even if it’s one computer class.  Don’t be afraid to ask for second chances.  You may be afraid, but you may be surprised at what you can accomplish.”

Two Minutes With…Board Member, Dustin Chapman

Board Member Dustin Chapman


This November, at their annual meeting, the Board of Directors recognized outgoing Board member Dustin Chapman’s six years of service to House of Charity.  Dustin, who is currently Behavioral Services Liaison with Fairview, was recruited to the Board because of his knowledge and experience in chemical dependency treatment programs.  Dustin started out with Fairview twenty-eight years ago as clinical supervisor of an inpatient chemical dependency unit.  His current role involves community outreach, licensing and regulatory compliance, and public policy. Dustin monitors legislation to keep Fairview informed of laws that may affect how they deliver services.  He is working with other community groups to monitor the impact of health care reform on chemical dependency programs.  In addition to his commitment to House of Charity, Dustin chairs the Board of Directors of Minnesota Recovery Connection, which advocates on behalf of the recovery community and provides recovery coaching.  He also serves on the board of Minnesota Association of Resources for Recovery and Health.

Because of his expertise, Dustin has been an invaluable resource for House of Charity’s Day by Day program.  At the beginning of his tenure, Dustin suggested we move in the direction of changing our Day by Day program from a halfway house for recovery to an outpatient chemical dependency treatment program.  In the past year, he has provided insight into the timing and anticipated results of funding changes for our expanded chemical dependency and mental health treatment program.  House of Charity’s Board of Directors and staff are grateful for Dustin’s passion for the program and his significant contributions to the growth of the agency.

Give to the Max

Give to the Max Day—11/15/2012

Support House of Charity during the Great Minnesota GIVE Together!

November 15th is Give to the Max Day!

As you know, House of Charity is making a difference every day by providing food, housing, and a way forward to struggling individuals in the Minneapolis community.  Your generous support is greatly appreciated by the increasing numbers of people we serve every day of the year.

Join us on November 15 for Minnesota’s Give to the Max Day, and help us win a $1,000 Golden Ticket.  Give to the Max Day is an initiative of GiveMN, an online giving website for Minnesota nonprofits.  Every hour on this day, one donation will be selected at random and the associated nonprofit will receive an extra $1,000!

 By making a donation on Give to the Max Day, you increase our chances of winning.

At the end of Give to the Max Day, one donation from across Minnesota will be randomly selected for a $10,000 SUPERSIZED Golden Ticket!  Help us maximize our odds by making your gift on November 15th at:

Links no longer active.

Help Us Win a 
$1,000 or $10,000

Each hour on 11/15, a donation will be selected at random for one nonprofit to receive an extra $1,000!

 By donating on Give to the Max Day, you increase our chances of winning.  At the end of the day, one donation from Minnesota will be randomly selected for a $10,000 SUPERSIZED Golden Ticket!

Schedule Your Donation
   Give to the Max Day!



Schedule a donation to

House of Charity to be processed  on November 15th!


Your Impact!
A matching grant
from the
Buuck Family Foundation
to House of Charity
doubles new gifts made through December,
up to $5,000!
Your “Give to the Max Day” gift
just keeps on giving!

Recovery Leads to Reunion: Lon’s Story


No one has ever helped me like this before.  No one has ever helped me like the people at House of Charity.”

House of Charity’s mission statement is: Feed those in need, house those experiencing homelessness, and empower individuals to achieve independence. Staff, volunteers, and donors play an important role in helping us carry out our mission on a daily basis.  The following story illustrates how the work we do has a meaningful and lasting impact on the people we serve.  Let’s start at the end:
Lon is living in his own apartment.
He has been awarded custody of his 15-month-old son.
He has been reconciled with his mother.
He has plans to go back to school.

Lon’s struggles with drugs and alcohol led him to prison. His two sons were taken from their mothers and placed in foster care while he was incarcerated. Lon and his mother stopped speaking because she was upset with his drug use and behavior.
When Lon was released from prison, he first went to another treatment program and then came to House of Charity. He lived in our transitional housing and participated in our Day by Day treatment program. He went to group sessions every day and established a particularly trusting relationship with his counselor, Maren. Maren was very supportive and worked with Lon’s parole officer as well as the child protection workers.

Lon graduated from the Day by Day program after 90 days. Through House of Charity’s Housing First program, Lon was able to move into his apartment. He is still going to support groups and meeting up with friends from House of Charity. He is now off parole. Lon appreciated his stay at House of Charity; he felt he had the support of all the counselors and his case manager. 

Lon’s oldest son (15) is now living with his mother in Wisconsin and Lon sees him regularly. Lon’s youngest son came to live with him in December. Lon’s mother will help Lon with child care when he goes back to school to learn small engine repair.

Lon says that if it weren’t for House of Charity, his sons still would be in foster care and he probably would be on the street. 
We are grateful to everyone who is interested in and supports our work with Lon and others in need.  
You have a large impact on our ability to feed, house, and empower.