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Posted on January 10th, 2018

With major gift, Minneapolis homeless shelter dares to ‘dream big’ about future

By Star Tribune

DECEMBER 25, 2017 — 10:28PM

 Sitting on the edge of a bunk bed, Jo Ann Johnson spoke longingly of the day when she will have a place of her own.

She imagines a tidy apartment with her own bathroom, color television and a place on the wall to hang photos of her late husband, who died last spring of Parkinson’s disease.

“For the first time that I can remember, I have hope because I am surrounded by so many people who care,” said Johnson, 59, whose belongings are kept in a backpack near her pillow.

For 35 years, the basement of Simpson United Methodist Church in the Whittier neighborhood of south Minneapolis has served as a much-needed sanctuary for people experiencing the trauma and stress of homelessness. Here, in a below-ground world mostly hidden from the lights and bustle of the streets above, dozens of men and women are sprawled out on bunks and sofas, many too exhausted from a day of work or wandering the streets to move.

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