Data shows over 944 known people experienced homelessness in central Minnesota in 2018 and in 2019, there were over 50 known homeless people in Crow Wing County alone. Those figures don’t count those doubling up or not showing up to be counted, so in truth those numbers are much higher. A Covid-19 grant allowed Crow Wing County to house 263 unduplicated households in 2020/2021. The need is sobering. People living outside with no home have experienced trauma and isolation. They feel rejected by their community; outcast and abandoned.
Crow Wing County reports 10.8% of their population, over 7,000 people, live below the federal poverty guideline and neighboring Cass County reports 13.6%, over 4,000 people. Many households with extremely low income pay more than 30% of their income on housing and are just one paycheck away from becoming homeless. Finding affordable rental housing is a major problem.
Homelessness results in an economic burden on a community. According to the Interagency Council on Homelessness, housing people alone can reduce the cost to taxpayers by an annual average of over $20,000 per person due to less usage of emergency, jail, court, and other services. That means getting only 50 people off the streets and into supportive housing can result in a savings of over $1,000,000 each year. Additionally, decreasing homelessness improves the quality of the community with less loitering and encampment areas, and a lower crime rate.
We believe loving our neighbors well is to meet each person where they are at, match support and services to their identified needs, and help lift them up to reach their full potential. Empowering individuals to become as self-sufficient as possible restores hope and dignity.
by providing a safe and affordable house to live in. Our goal is to build small cottages in a safe and supportive neighborhood/village environment. Everyone who qualifies and follows the basic rules can live there permanently, and have a place to call home.
by promoting employment. The only real way out of poverty is to increase income and lower expenses. Many programs and handouts provide help, but can also create dependency and keep people stuck without experiencing real and lasting change. Our plan is to match each person to job skills training, assist in finding employment, and promote entrepreneurial opportunities as well. Budgeting and financial management education is also part of the plan.
by providing a community that works together and creates a sense of belonging. Socialization opportunities are provided within a community center, park, community gardens, support meetings, church services and/or Bible studies, and multiple planned activities and events.
by providing onsite mental health therapy; support groups; life and relationship skills training; and classes in healthy living, diet, and meal preparation. An exercise room is in the plan, along with an arts and crafts room to provide opportunities for expression and healing, and to encourage the development of healthy hobbies.
by helping each person see the potential in their lives. Our plan is to also focus on homeless young adults and those aging out of the foster care system. Our goal is to help launch them into adulthood, with extra guidance, training, and support to get them started on a positive path for their future.
Everyday, there are people who wonder where they will sleep that night. Each person has a story. Each person has suffered great loss. The path to be able to sustain themselves seems impossible to find. We want to change that and provide hope for a better future and a safe place of belonging; a place to call home.
After quoting the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself, someone asked Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?" He replied by telling the story of the good Samaritan who showed mercy to one in need. Jesus then said, "Go and do the same."
Several caring folks in central Minnesota have joined together to form this non-profit organization to respond to that call; to love the ones in need by lifting them up. They are
"My Neighbor to Love".
Motivated by the love of God, our mission is to end homelessness and lift people out of extreme poverty in central Minnesota. We believe every person needs a safe place to sleep and a chance to reach their full potential. Our plan is to accomplish this goal by creating neighborhoods with small, affordable houses and by addressing causes of homelessness and poverty for each person. We will match each person to solution-based resources and also provide and/or find opportunities for them to become more self-sufficient. Equally important, our desire is to encourage caring for one another with a sense of community, responsibility, and belonging.
We have an amazing group of faithful people who have stepped up to handle whatever tasks need doing. Many have earnestly prayed for the past two years for the Lord to guide and provide. We are blessed to have so many talented, hardworking, and compassionate people on our team.