Helping the homeless has been heavy on the heart of Carla Burton, founder and Executive Director of Grace Place in Winona for many years. It has been part of her vision since Grace Place Ministry began in 1992, offering shelter and safe housing for young, single mothers.
Burton’s dream of being able to offer transitional housing to help individuals and families get back on their feet came true this past January when Grace Place purchased the former Catholic Worker House at 802 W. 6th Street in Winona. With the help of volunteers, the home has been refreshed with new paint and repairs made.
Burton said it was a challenge to get the home ready for families, “We purchased the home in January 2020 and we all know what happened a few months later with COVID-19. But we had the help of volunteers who repainted walls, and Habitat for Humanity took care of needed repairs,” she said.
For its part, Hiawatha Broadband Communications (HBC) will be donating Internet service for the home’s guests. Burton said having access to the Internet will play an important role in getting people back on their feet.
“Without Internet what would you do,” asked Burton. “Nearly everything needed to get a job requires an Internet connection including learning new skills, finding job opportunities, and emailing job applications and resumes.”
Two things that are close to my heart! Having volunteered time with people experiencing homelessness, I have seen how important broadband access is. It is the connection to a potential job, to friends and family, to finding resources such as a bed for the night or getting into the system for more support. It is a gift that is like offering someone a fishing pole. It’s a tool to help someone help themselves.