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Hospitality House’s heart in the right place
Joni Hubred, News Editor
Joni Hubred, editor, Steele County Times

Next month, Hospitality House in Owatonna will kick off a fundraising drive–and the goal is a big one.

The emergency shelter helps up to 17 men at a time, but this is not a place where you get just a bed and a hot meal for a night. Hospitality House staff moves their guests toward finding a stable income, stable housing. A new life.

As you might imagine, that takes more than a few bucks. What you might not know, though, is this kind of care for the homeless, and particularly homeless men, is rare.

We struggle as a nation with homelessness. Federal, state, county, and local government leaders all have different ideas, some based in good public policy and some on outdated ideas or moral and political biases.

The problem, I think, is that too many people are looking for simple answers to a complex issue. Everyone who is homeless walked a unique path to get there; we can’t expect them to walk out on a road marked for someone else.

But unique is expensive. Unique takes bundles of energy and loads of effort. Because of that, unique on a national or state-wide scale typically doesn’t work.

Local people know their community and its resources. They can find the deep pockets, the committed volunteers, the willing churches. That’s what I’ve seen in Owatonna and Steele County, where separate shelters are available for men and for women and their children.

Both Hospitality House and Rachel’s Light build relationships with the people who need their services. There’s no warehousing, no cookie-cutter program. Instead, people who need the support and love of a family find it, along with a bit of tough love and accountability.

For Hospitality House, the cost of that care runs into six figures every year; both shelters rely on local donations. Businesses and churches pitch in, and individual donors answer regular calls on social media for household items, cleaning and paper supplies.

But the big, five-and-six-figure fundraisers provide stability, the solid platform they need to lend others a hand up.

So when you’re asked, give what you can. Give from your heart.

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