‘Down for the Challenge’ rappeler knows firsthand that homelessness is scary

May 27, 2022

A woman named Kris from Ramsey, Minn., was one of the first people to sign up for this year’s Down for the Challenge urban rappelling event to fight homelessness, and for good reason: She is passionate about the cause because she once was homeless herself. 

Years ago, Kris endured six months of homelessness, despite being gainfully employed.  

“I was unable to secure housing,” said Kris, 53, who now works as a residential coordinator. “Between crashing at my friends’ houses and sleeping in the back of my truck, there was never a dull moment.”

Eventually, she landed on her feet. But she will never forget how scary it felt to be homeless – a fear that pales in comparison to that of rappelling down a building.    

“Being afraid to step off the building will only be scary for a couple of minutes, but being homeless was scary for months,” Kris said.

Right now, thousands of Minnesotans are experiencing that same kind of fear: An estimated 20,000 Minnesotans are experiencing homelessness, with another 75,000 families at risk of homelessness due to being behind on their rent.

“Rappelers like Kris are part of the solution as they raise money to support The Salvation Army’s housing and homelessness prevention programs in the Twin Cities,” said Lt. Col. Dan Jennings, leader of The Salvation Army Northern Division. 

Kris also participated in last year’s Down for the Challenge event on Sept. 18, held the day before her birthday. 

“I signed up to help others in need and to push myself out of my comfort zone,” she said. “And, it was kind of an outside-of-the-box birthday thing to do.”

She is excited to be part of this year’s thrilling event, and she hopes others will join the fun to support such an important cause.

“I never asked for help back when I needed it the most – pride, shame and embarrassment all stood in the way,” Kris wrote on her fundraising page. “Now I am asking for your support – not for myself, but for others that may find themselves in a tough situation.”

Join Down for the Challenge

The Salvation Army’s Down for the Challenge urban rappelling event with the Minnesota Vikings will be held July 29-30 at the Omni Viking Lakes Hotel during training camp. Our goal is to raise $1 million for Salvation Army housing and homelessness prevention programs in the Twin Cities. 

The Salvation Army is on the frontlines of Minnesota’s housing and homelessness crisis. We are the state's largest nongovernmental provider of services for those experiencing homelessness, and we are an expert in homelessness prevention. We operate five local emergency shelters that provide a safe place to sleep for more than 450 people every night. (Read success story.)

You can support Down for the Challenge by signing up to rappel or giving a donation. Your contributions will allow The Salvation Army to keep families in their homes and provide a safety net for those experiencing homelessness. 

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