Annual
Report

2020-2021

A Year To
Remember

We Came Out Stronger – Together


Dear Friends,

We will remember it as The Year of COVID. For Our Saviour’s Community Services, the pandemic struck with full force just as we began a new fiscal year, on April 1, 2020.

Within a matter of weeks, we converted the English Learning Center to remote learning, implemented new safety protocols for housing residents, and relocated our emergency shelter to a hotel, so guests could have the safety of individual rooms and 24/7 support.

Volunteers used to teaching in-person classes and serving shelter meals were just as swift in their response, learning to support individual students by phone and in virtual classrooms; dropping off meals (or paying local restaurants to deliver them); and contributing food and other supplies for our residents, students, and neighbors.

Working remotely, our administrative and development team cranked out more than 70 grant applications, successfully raising well over a million dollars in emergency aid alone. Donors and congregational partners also stepped up, increasing total contributions by more than $80,000 from the prior year. Everyone grabbed an oar, and we weathered the storm.

Of course, many of us also lost friends, colleagues, and loved ones. And the murder of George Floyd sparked a racial reckoning that will continue to transform our communities, our institutions, and ourselves for years to come.

Yes, there is much more work to do. But we invite you to take a moment to reflect on the remarkable accomplishments of the past year and some of the lessons we’ve learned. Unhoused adults can thrive with just a bit more privacy and support. Adult English learners appreciate the opportunity to learn remotely. And community bonds grow strong when we come together with common purpose.

Thank you for being part of our community this year. We look forward to seeing you again soon, in person!

With gratitude,

David Fey, Interim Executive Director

English
Learning
Center

Our
Saviour’s
Housing

Volunteers

Donors

English
Learning
Center

Our
Saviour’s
Housing

Volunteers

Donors

Students Enrolled

159

Student Hours

6,220

Classes In

English, literacy for elders, literature, conversation, and preparation for the U.S. citizenship exam

Students Enrolled

159

Student Hours

6,220

Classes In

English, literacy for elders, literature, conversation, and preparation for the U.S. citizenship exam

ELC staff member Phoebe pictured above.

The Students

Ages 20-73

  • Identify as Female 69% 69%
  • Identify as Male 31% 31%

%

Came to the United States with refugees status

%

Have children under 18

%

Are working on achieving their first literacy in any language

Representing

19

Countries

Speaking

15

Languages

Due to COVID-19, our school was closed some days, but we started distance learning [and] phone tutoring right away, and our school started food shelf to help us during this hard times. English Learning Center didn’t stop for anything. That’s why I love my school.”
– Osman, ELC Student

The Impact

Whatsapp
Google Classroom
Phone

1 : 1 Tutoring

45 tech devices lent to help students attend online classes

At least 2 students became U.S. citizens

50 families received food support

Meet Khadija

From her first day of school in 2019 to now, Khadija sees a big change in herself. She says, “On the first day, I was scared to speak English.” But Khadija never let that fear stop her from learning. When her friend told her about the English Learning Center, she knew she wanted to attend. “Because I need it. My children are going to school, and I need to have conversations with their teachers. Or when I go to a doctor’s appointment or want to go talk to the manager [of the apartment] in the office downstairs. If you try to speak Somali, people don’t understand, and so I always had to find an interpreter.” Now, however, Khadija feels more independent. She’s also less worried about making mistakes, remembering that everybody has to start somewhere. “Sometimes you’re right. Sometimes you don’t know and you’re wrong. Like right now, I’m just trying.”

Even a pandemic couldn’t stop Khadija from learning. She went from riding to class in the school van to logging in online. While the change presented many new challenges for students, Khadija remained undeterred. She was one of the first Google classroom students and helped the ELC staff learn how best to do distance learning. She says, “Online classes are very different. I got a computer from my school, so I could stay home and feel safe while going to school. [It’s] not harder. When my children are at home, I can learn English. My son helps me. I watch a lot of youtube videos. I practice listening. I can cook and listen to English.”

In recognition of her hard work and contributions during an extraordinary year, Khadija received Literacy Minnesota’s 2020 Outstanding Learner Award! As an ELC staff member wrote in her nomination, “[Khadija’s] determination and dedication to class, despite all the barriers she was facing, were truly inspiring! Her continued attendance helped us to rebuild our program and grow it to what it is today.”

Meet Khadija

From her first day of school in 2019 to now, Khadija sees a big change in herself. She says, “On the first day, I was scared to speak English.” But Khadija never let that fear stop her from learning. When her friend told her about the English Learning Center, she knew she wanted to attend. “Because I need it. My children are going to school, and I need to have conversations with their teachers. Or when I go to a doctor’s appointment or want to go talk to the manager [of the apartment] in the office downstairs. If you try to speak Somali, people don’t understand, and so I always had to find an interpreter.” Now, however, Khadija feels more independent. She’s also less worried about making mistakes, remembering that everybody has to start somewhere. “Sometimes you’re right. Sometimes you don’t know and you’re wrong. Like right now, I’m just trying.”

Even a pandemic couldn’t stop Khadija from learning. She went from riding to class in the school van to logging in online. While the change presented many new challenges for students, Khadija remained undeterred. She was one of the first Google classroom students and helped the ELC staff learn how best to do distance learning. She says, “Online classes are very different. I got a computer from my school, so I could stay home and feel safe while going to school. [It’s] not harder. When my children are at home, I can learn English. My son helps me. I watch a lot of youtube videos. I practice listening. I can cook and listen to English.”

In recognition of her hard work and contributions during an extraordinary year, Khadija received Literacy Minnesota’s 2020 Outstanding Learner Award! As an ELC staff member wrote in her nomination, “[Khadija’s]determination and dedication to class, despite all the barriers she was facing, were truly inspiring! Her continued attendance helped us to rebuild our program and grow it to what it is today.”

675

Residents

675

Residents


AJ moved from shelter to his own apartment in February 2021!

The Residents

Ages 18-78

  • Identify as Female 34% 34%
  • Identify as Male 64% 64%
  • Identify as Transgender 2% 2%

The majority of our residents have been homeless for at least one year or four times in the past three years.

With shelter and stable housing, many are working to heal from trauma and stabilize their physical, mental, and chemical health.

Our shelter and housing programs reflect the reality that individuals who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color disproportionately experience homelessness in our community. This occurs through a long history of intentionally racist housing policy and other forms of systemic racism. We acknowledge homelessness as a racial justice issue requiring an anti-racist lens to undo.


AJ moved from shelter to his own apartment in February 2021!

The Impact

554

Emergency
Shelter

9

Transitional
Housing

112

Permanent Supportive
Housing

164

hotel beds each night
*The shelter operated out of a hotel for most of the fiscal year.

89%

remained in transitional housing or moved into permanent housing

90%

remained permanently housed

554

Emergency
Shelter

164

hotel beds each night
*The shelter operated out of a hotel for most of the fiscal year.

9

Transitional
Housing

89%

remained in transitional housing or moved into permanent housing

112

Permanent Supportive
Housing

90%

remained permanently housed

Meet Sheila

On May 1, 2020, Sheila became one of the first guests to stay at the hotel where our shelter began operating when the pandemic began. She’d never been to a shelter before and recalls it was a little hectic and took some time to adjust. But she’s glad she came, especially since having COPD put her at much higher risk with COVID. She says, “I thought truly that I was going to be on a long road of suffering. But through the grace of God, it’s been okay. It’s been magnificent, compared to being on the streets. I wouldn’t turn it in right now for nothing in the world. I would not turn it in, and the staff has been nothing but remarkable to me.”

With stable shelter, Sheila has the time and energy to focus on her mental and physical health. She says she keeps all of her appointments, something she wasn’t able to do when she was on the streets. “The appointments they gave me were far away. By the time you get there…I’m homeless, you know, I can’t remember dates and things. But here, I have the support that I need, and that’s the main factor, being able to have the support.” Sheila’s also been working on her sobriety, something she’s committed to doing for her five grandkids. “I need to get myself together in order for me to help my grandkids. So it’s no more usage of drugs in my life. That’s where I’m at now. Staying clean and sober and just staying at peace within myself.”

Sheila most looks forward to the day when she can have her own place, where she can cook and have her grandkids spend the night. She’d like to find some quiet senior housing. It’s been a slow process, and she worries that her background will be held against her. But she remains hopeful. “I’m just looking forward to really getting my place and know that I can make it in this life. You know, I’m 59 now. I’ll be 60, and I don’t want to waste no more time on garbage or BS, as they say. When I get my place, I want to be able to come back here and help the fellow people that are struggling and let them know where I was at a time in my life. I want to give back what was really gave to me. I got to give back.”

Meet Sheila

On May 1, 2020, Sheila became one of the first guests to stay at the hotel where our shelter began operating when the pandemic began. She’d never been to a shelter before and recalls it was a little hectic and took some time for her to adjust. But she’s glad she came, especially since having COPD put her at much higher risk with COVID. She says, “I thought truly that I was going to be on a long road of suffering. But through the grace of God, it’s been okay. It’s been magnificent, compared to being on the streets. I wouldn’t turn it in right now for nothing in the world. I would not turn it in, and the staff has been nothing but remarkable to me.”

With stable shelter, Sheila has the time and energy to focus on her mental and physical health. She says she keeps all of her appointments, something she wasn’t able to do when she was on the streets. “The appointments they gave me were far away. By the time you get there…I’m homeless, you know, I can’t remember dates and things. But here, I have the support that I need, and that’s the main factor, being able to have the support.” Sheila’s also been working on her sobriety, something she’s committed to doing for her five grandkids. “I need to get myself together in order for me to help my grandkids. So it’s no more usage of drugs in my life. That’s where I’m at now. Staying clean and sober and just staying at peace within myself.”

Sheila most looks forward to the day when she can have her own place, where she can cook and have her grandkids spend the night. She’d like to find some quiet senior housing that’s on the first floor or has an elevator. It’s been a slow process, and she worries that her background will be held against her. But she remains hopeful. “I’m just looking forward to really getting my place and know that I can make it in this life. You know, I’m 59 now. I’ll be 60, and I don’t want to waste no more time on garbage or BS, as they say. When I get my place, I want to be able to come back here and help the fellow people that are struggling and let them know where I was at a time in my life. I want to give back what was really gave to me. I got to give back.”

We Adapted.

Thank you for your patience as our volunteer needs changed nearly overnight and for your dedication in living into new virtual roles!

218

Volunteers

218

Volunteers

Everyone we talk to, [students] appreciate so much that we call them or that the teacher will call them. They really needed that call, you know? When we’re back, I’ll make 1,000 sambusas for all of our volunteers. Even if they’re out of the country, I’ll freeze their sambusa for them!”
– Habiba, ELC staff

Our Saviour's Housing

  • 175 volunteers
  • Donated 832 hours
  • Served 2,638 meals
l

English Learning Center

  • 43 volunteers
  • Taught 1,551 hours

We missed working with many of you last year and look forward to seeing you again with the return of in-person volunteering.

We Stepped Up.

I contribute to Our Saviour’s Community Services because I firmly believe that they have pivoted so beautifully in this pandemic year to do creative and innovative programming, working hard to reach out to neighbors at the ELC and OSH. I’m so proud of what they’re doing.”
– Kathleen Olsen, OSCS Monthly Donor

    • 46% COVID-specific Support $1,389,430
    • 36% Government Grants $1,080,355
    • 11% Individuals and Faith Communities $325,894
    • 5% Corporate and Foundation Grants $145,400
    • 2% Program and Other Income $67,230
  • 52% Staff-related Expenses $1,425,874
  • 35% COVID-specific Expenses $956,852
  • 8% Direct and Indirect Expenses $206,278
  • 4% Program Expenses $120,202
  • 1% Other Expenses $15,550

When the pandemic increased the costs of operation by 68%, our community rose to the occasion and helped get us through.

%

Increase

in individual donors

%

Increase

in monthly donors

%

Increase

in new donors

%

Increase

in faith community donors

A complete list of donors, audited financial statement, and 990 will be available soon.

Board of Directors

Fiscal Year 2020-2021

Daniel Bain
Craig Johnson
Jane Dunlap
Pr. Laurie Eaton

Elena Geiger-Simpson*
Nate Hallanger
Tom Mulhere
Tezra Osthus

Nicholas Smith
James Unglaube
Angela Willson

*Concluded board service during the year

Make a donation today to change lives.

2315 Chicago Ave. So.
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Phone | 612.871.5900
Fax | 612.871.0017

communications@oscs-mn.org

Our Saviour's Housing

2219 Chicago Ave. So.
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Phone | 612.872.4193
Fax | 612.872.4442

English Learning Center

2315 Chicago Ave. So.
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Phone | 612.874.9963
Fax | 612.871.0017