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Continued: Food shelves in west metro see many signs of continuing, increased need

  • Article by: GRAISON HENSLEY CHAPMAN , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 17, 2013 - 3:33 PM

‘At home and at peace’

Whether the need for social services in the suburbs rises or falls, Tanya, a 34 year-old mother of three in Albertville, hopes for a greater awareness of the struggles lived by low-income people outside of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Several years ago Tanya, who grew up in St. Paul, moved out of the city for a more peaceful life. But in 2010, she was found to have non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Several months later she lost her job. Not long after that, Tanya and her two sons found themselves homeless.

The closest help for her was the Salvation Army shelter in St. Cloud, where she was able to stay after two nights of sleeping in her car with her boys.

Two years later, Tanya is living in a townhouse through the Salvation Army’s Shelter Plus program. Albertville is great, she said, but it is hard to get by in the suburbs. She says it would be easy to move back to St. Paul, where she would be closer to her brother, to daily needs like groceries and gas, and to many more social services to help get her back on her feet. But she has no plans to leave.

“The community here treats us like family,” she said. “My sons are involved with the youth group up the street. My pastor is always there to help.” She also credits the Shelter Plus Care program and staff, she said, which is the only service like it in the area.

“I feel very at home and at peace being here,” she said.


Graison Hensley Chapman is a Northfield freelance writer. He can be reached at

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