The Salvation Army houses half of Hennepin County, Minn. homeless

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Harbor Light is the state’s largest homeless outreach facility.

Ever wonder how The Salvation Army uses red kettle donations in the Twin Cities?

Here’s an interesting answer: to house half of the homeless population in Hennepin County.

Of the 800 to 1,000 single adults who will sleep in a homeless shelter in Hennepin County tonight, at least half will stay at The Salvation Army Harbor Light Shelter in Minneapolis, according to the most recent report by Heading Home Hennepin.

Harbor Light is the state’s largest homeless outreach facility. Nightly it shelters an average of 500 men and women, each with a unique struggle. Some have mental health issues. Others are drug addicts, or veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Still others are upstanding, everyday people who can’t catch a break.

All have an important thing in common: worth.

“We love every person who comes through our doors,” said Major Jeff Strickler, commander of the Twin Cities Salvation Army. “Each person has infinite value and potential.”

Indeed, Harbor Light is a blessing for people with no place left to turn—people like Harold Godbolt (pictured at top), who recently moved to Minnesota from Pennsylvania. He lost his job earlier this year and, for the first time in his life, became homeless.

“It’s very sobering being on your own,” said Godbolt, now in his late 40s, who began sleeping inside Harbor Light’s 130-bed bunkhouse for men. The facility also includes five stories of emergency, transitional and permanent housing for hundreds of others.

Godbolt is thankful for The Salvation Army.

“It’s not the Hilton, but I’m safe, I have a warm place to sleep, and I’m fed—I have no complaints at all,” he said. “I’m here to make it. Do what I have to do.”

Others at Harbor Light are less capable of becoming self-sufficient. They suffer from severe mental illness, physical disabilities and other limitations. For these men and women, Salvation Army case managers work hard to help them secure housing and disability benefits.

 “It’s just fun, it’s not a job,” said Camille Case, one of several Harbor Light case managers whose combined efforts helped more than 200 shelter guests move into permanent housing last year.

In addition to housing, Harbor Light serves hundreds of free hot meals every day, provides residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation, offers an onsite medical clinic, and features many other vital services for people experiencing homelessness.


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