Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota

Army housing programs part of the solution (video)

Added on Thursday, October 27, 2016

Affordable housing is getting harder and harder to find across Minnesota and North Dakota. In the Twin Cities, the construction of low-income apartments isn’t keeping up with demand (read Star Tribune story). In many parts of North Dakota, rental prices are through the roof (read story).

Salvation Army housing programs are part of the solution. Every night, more than 1,000 people sleep inside our 50 housing and shelter facilities in Minnesota and North Dakota.

Booth Manor exteriorSome of our facilities provide a permanent place to live, such as Booth Manor in Minneapolis (pictured), a 21-story high rise for seniors (read story). Other facilities offer transitional housing, where residents can stabilize while they gain the personal and financial stability needed to secure a home of their own.

Our transitional housing programs are especially prominent in Duluth, Minn., where our three local facilities served 75 people from April 2015 to March 2016. Of the 30 people who have since exited these facilities, 28 of them have gone on to live on their own and find stable, permanent housing.

Krystal Barrack (pictured at top) is one of those people. Read on for a closer look at how Salvation Army housing programs changed her life.

Victory is hers

Krystal’s life had gotten way out of hand. For years she drank too much and too often in her hometown on the Iron Range, blowing thousands of dollars she’d inherited. She became broke, wound up in jail, and lost custody of her daughter.

“I felt like I was at the bottom of a lake and didn’t know how to swim,” Krystal said.

Catherine-Booth-300x200After serving her jail time and living in a halfway house, she found her way to the Duluth Salvation Army in 2014. She moved into a Duluth Salvation Army transitional housing facility (pictured) that would allow her to stay for up to two years while she worked to stay sober, find a job, and get her daughter back.

Initially, Krystal was unsure of her decision to enroll in the program.

“I was in an empty apartment,” she recalled. “I had no phone, no TV, no anything – in a city where I didn’t know anybody.”

Her apprehension didn’t last long. Immediately, the Duluth Salvation Army gave her bus passes, food vouchers, pots and pans, linens, and other essentials to help her get started. She met with her Salvation Army case manager and began to set goals.

Soon, Krystal was making positive steps forward. The Salvation Army let her do most of the day-to-day legwork of making calls, paying bills, job searching, and setting up appointments.

Child room at housing facility“They don’t do it for you,” Krystal said. “That forces you to be independent. I liked that part.”

Today, Krystal has reached her goals. After spending the last two years staying sober and attending a trade school, she now works full-time as a machine operator and loves her job. Best of all, she has her daughter back.

“For the first time in my life, I have control,” said Krystal, who is scheduled to move into her own home with her daughter in fall 2016. “I never thought I’d be here. I never realized there were people out there to help people like me.”


Learn more about Krystal’s story in this video:

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