Rose’s Journey: Breaking the Cycle of Generational Poverty

Posted on June 13th, 2019

Rose, a former guest of Simpson Shelter, recently settled into her new home.  A twenty-eight-year-old Native American woman — White Earth Ojibwe on her mom’s side and Lac du Flambeau Chippewa on her dad’s side — she has experienced generational homelessness. Most recently she experienced homelessness for more than two years, living primarily on the streets of Minneapolis.

Rose characterizes her journey through homelessness as one of feeling. “The experience of living on the street has been both emotionally and physically injuring,” she says.

Camping out with people under the bridge by the river, Rose had to be hypervigilant to keep herself safe. Drinking was her defense mechanism; she drank frequently and in excess, arming herself with an impulsive and angry edge that was not truly in her nature.

Rose experienced extreme hardship and loss. One of her close friends passed away on the streets. Rose’s strength carried her through this devastating loss, and her compassionate nature helped others grieve and survive.

One year into unsheltered homelessness, Rose visited Adult Shelter Connect, a collaboration between Simpson and four other emergency shelter providers serving single adults in Hennepin County. Soon after an assessment, she received a bed and resources at Simpson’s shelter.

Shelter Manager Robert Hofmann provided support to Rose during her time at Simpson. “Rose felt that coming to Simpson was different. She knew the staff cared about her. We listened and helped her with her goals. Even if she didn’t stay with us for awhile, she would keep coming back to tell us about her progress. She felt a connection to the community at Simpson,” he says.

At Simpson’s shelter, Rose found the stability and support she needed to move toward housing. With the help of Simpson case managers, she completed the necessary steps to secure long-term housing.

Now settled in her studio apartment through housing provider Start Today Hennepin, Rose has the safety and space to heal. “Now I am able to work on healing myself. There are people who care about me and want to help me. I can build my new life,” she says.

Rose is now working on healing and finding balance in her mental health after surviving the trauma of homelessness. With a foundation built upon the combination of her own inner strength, stable housing, and a solid support network, she has been able to moderate her drinking and hopes to continue to walk the road to sobriety with her fiancé.

Focusing her time on healing practices that utilize her strengths, Rose makes intricately hand-crafted jewelry. She is grateful to have the space to return to her artistic work. In the future, Rose would like to build on her creative talents by pursuing her education in animation and video production.

Shelter manager Marian Wright reflects on Rose’s journey and success: “Rose has had so much happen to her. She is resilient. She has faced generational homelessness, and she is breaking the cycle.”