Friday, August 17, 2012
Richard B., a 57-year-old resident of the Cochran House homeless shelter in Hastings, writes about his experience living in a homeless shelter and looking for work.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Being a 57-year-old, I’ve learned patience and acceptance in my life. At Cochran [House], I appreciate having meals, a bed to sleep in and a place to live. It’s hard to establish goals at my age because I'm not sure what my options are. I’ve learned to get by on my $92 a month, but I have no incentive to get a part-time job as the earnings from it have to go right back into the house. As sad as it sounds, it’s easier to read, do crossword puzzles and do volunteer work, [than it is] to look for a documented (taxable) part-time job. Hastings is a nice town but it’s a tough place to find a full-time job. I feel I'm at a disadvantage because of my age, lack of driver's license and no vehicle. None of these three things look good on a job …
The story of Richard, 57, who became homeless for the first time last year.
Richard's whole life has been distilled into two suitcases and a trash bag. That's all the 57-year-old has in the world after 10 months of homelessness. But he makes no excuses. When asked how his life led him from the safety of a home in a small southern Minnesota town to the Cochran House in Hastings, he keeps it simple. "Mistakes I made in my past," he says. A casual observer would not know that Richard is homeless. He is clean-shaven, with a trim haircut and a business-like demeanor. His T-shirt is impeccably white and neatly tucked in to his blue jean shorts, which have clearly been pressed. The only small hint is a hole in one of his white sneakers. Otherwise, it would be impossible to know just how far his fortunes have fallen. …
These organizations provide resources for those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Find the right group for you, whether you need assistance, or want to donate or volunteer.
Want to give your time, money or energy to Dakota County nonprofits and organizations fighting to end homelessness? Or do you need assistance in your own struggle to stay afloat? Look no further than our guide to local shelters, social services and advocacy groups. Find the right group for you, whether you need help, or want to donate or volunteer. Administrative Offices 501 East Highway 13, Suite 102 Burnsville, MN 55337 Phone: 952-985-5300 360 Communities is an organization that uses community engagement to positively shape the future of our communities. It employs data-driven research to identify trends, strengths and vulnerabilities, and then works with key community partners to build and implement action plans. At the same time, 360 …
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
From housing assistance to skill building. How are government agencies and local nonprofits taking the fight to homelessness?
Dakota County officials say as many as 1,000 men, women and children may be experiencing homelessness on any given night somewhere within the county. That could mean sleeping in a car, on a friend's couch, or worse. And officials acknowledge the problem of homelessness is not only growing in Dakota County, but it's far less visible than in a place like downtown Minneapolis. How does the county combat an issue that has so many contributing factors, including loss of employment; failure to complete basic educational goals; physical, mental, and chemical health issues; and unstable family structures? As part of the county's new Heading Home Dakota initiative, a 10-year plan to end local homelessness, officials like Dakota County Housing …
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
John P., a 52-year-old resident of the Cochran House homeless shelter in Hastings, raised his daughter with love and respect before becoming homeless.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
How I feel about being homeless! I know l don’t look homeless. I’m not pushing a shopping cart with all my possessions in it. Dirty and unkept. But when I walk down the street I feel like people look at me like that. I know it's because of the way I feel about myself. It's not a very good feeling! Shameful, lazy. But I'm not. I'm a single parent that raised my daughter with love and respect. We always had a clean, comfortable home. Margaret did so good in school that in August of this year she’s going to graduate from nursing school. [She] has been happily married for five years and I'm the proud grandpa of a 4-year-old granddaughter, “Teagan”. This is the first time I’ve ever been homeless! I don’t know the proper channels to get help. I …
Monday, August 13, 2012
In Dakota County, the number of homeless individuals or those at imminent risk of being homeless rose from 841 in 2011 to 1,013 in January 2012. The trend has deep roots, and complex causes, officials said.
Kenny Johnson’s homeless shelter is usually quiet in the summer—but that changes in the winter, when the 46-person house fills up to capacity and dozens more put their names on the shelter’s waitlist. That sort of demand isn’t unusual, said Johnson, a former drug addict and homeless person who found his calling as the coordinator for the Cochran House—a shelter in Hastings that caters to men who are recovering from substance abuse. The house opened in February 2010, and each winter since the opening, Johnson has been forced to turn away prospective residents. The Cochran House isn’t alone. The economy, a booming rental market with low vacancy rates, lack of health and human services funding and a host of other factors have led to a …
John, 52, has been a lot of things in his lifetime—a helicopter logger, a lead smelter, a steel worker and a single dad—but he never thought he'd be homeless.
John looks like a typical blue-collar worker. He favors blue jeans and T-shirts and hunting caps. He's got a gritty edge to his voice from smoking, gray hair and an affable way about him. He looks just like any other guy eating in a local diner or driving a truck at a construction site. Indeed, until recently, John was one of them. In spring of 2011, John—a single father whose daughter will soon graduate from nursing school—was fired from his job as a lead man in a lead smelting plant, a position he's held for years. In any other economy, at any other time, the loss of his job could have been easily remedied. But like many people in post-recession America, one false step plunged John into a cycle of poverty. For the first time, John …