Man who slept in train station now has a home

Jul 1, 2024

The only thing more awesome than rappelling down the 14-story Omni Viking Lakes Hotel at this year’s Down for the Challenge fundraiser on July 27 is the satisfaction you will feel knowing that your help changed somebody’s life. 

Down for the Challenge supports people like Grant, 50, who was chronically homeless for almost six years. With help from The Salvation Army, he secured a home this spring. 

When Grant was homeless, he often slept in an underground train station in Fridley (pictured).   

“Wintertime was the worst,” he recalled. “It was sad, cold, and scary.” 

During the day, he stayed warm by wandering around Northtown Mall or Mall of America. Other times, he would work for a temp agency and use the money he earned to pay for a night in a cheap hotel. 

Grant was born in Nigeria and lived in many countries while growing up. His dad worked as a diplomat and took Grant, his siblings and stepmom with him everywhere he went.  

Grant came to the United States as a young adult and eventually moved to Minnesota. He spent several decades working as a nursing and medical assistant in the Twin Cities. 

Over time, he descended into alcoholism. His disease worsened with every passing year, and by 2018, he lost everything and began a years-long battle with homelessness. 

Throughout his journey, he often stopped by The Salvation Army’s 360 Life Center in Blaine, where he received food, winter clothing, bus passes, and emotional support.  

“Sometimes I went there to use their microwave – I had no other way to heat my food,” Grant said. “Everyone there was so nice to me.” 

Nine months ago, Grant made the decision to turn his life around. He began alcohol treatment and has been sober ever since. 

“Drinking is what got me into this mess, and I don’t ever want to be homeless again,” he said. 

Grant’s long bout with homelessness ended this spring when our caseworkers helped him get his own apartment through The Salvation Army’s Family Homeless Prevention Assistance Program, with additional help from Rapid Rehousing and Housing Support programs. 

“Now I have a roof over my head,” Grant said. “Now I can cook my own food. Now I can eat healthier since I’m not drinking anymore. Now I’m safe. It is all amazing.” 

Salvation Army caseworker Quita Curtis is one of several staff members who helped Grant secure his apartment. She is proud of him and how far he has come.   

“The world put a lot of barriers against Grant,” Quita said. “He has done a great job of identifying his triggers and working to overcome them. It is a pleasure working with him because he is so kind and genuine.” 

Grant is grateful to The Salvation Army and supporters like you.  

“I appreciate The Salvation Army very much,” he said. “Thank you to everyone who gives donations.”  

Are you Down for the Challenge? You can support The Salvation Army’s efforts to fight homelessness by giving a donation or signing up for our Down for the Challenge urban rappelling event with the Minnesota Vikings. This adrenaline-pumping fundraiser takes place Saturday, July 27 at the Omni Viking Lakes Hotel during Vikings training camp. 

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