The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


A one-stop center for life change

Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota brings it all under one roof

Julie was born in northern Minnesota into a family of addicts. “My family members were alcoholics, prostitutes and drug users—meth, crack, coke, heroin and pills. My grandfather sold hot items—marijuana and pharmaceuticals,” she said.

Before she found affordable housing
Before she found affordable housing through Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota’s Center for Changing Lives, retiree Cheryl Barney struggled to meet expenses of raising her grandchildren.
Single and pregnant at 22, Julie (last name withheld for her privacy) temporarily lost custody of her daughter due to drug use. She relocated to the Twin Cities and became pregnant again two years ago. “Once I had my son, I thought no more couch bouncing,” she said.

In June 2007 she moved into Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota transitional housing and became sober. When LSS opened its Center for Changing Lives in 2008, Julie moved into an apartment designated for homeless families. “It’s been heaven,” the 38-year-old said. “I have space, my son has room to play, and my teenage daughter has her privacy.”

Through the center, Julie also receives counseling, completed a job training program and has hope for her future. “This isn’t just my life,” she said. “It’s my children’s, too, and if I want them to have a better life, I have to be clean and work hard.”

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February issue


Embracing diversity