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RS EDEN In the News
Thanks to the Longfellow Nokomis Messenger for publishing a story that RS EDEN’s President and CEO, Caroline Hood, shared at Amber Apartments’ groundbreaking ceremony on Oct 21. It’s the story of a 27 year-old black woman forced to make a choice between taking a promotion that will mean earning just a bit too much money to afford her home, or staying low-wage to keep a Section 8 subsidy to meet government-supported housing requirements.
This is the housing gap that so many are stuck in within a system that is broken. RS EDEN’s five-story, 52,178-square-foot building opens next year offers 80 efficiency units with rents from $600 a month. This is affordable housing that truly offers hope and a sustainable way to move from dependence to independence.
Read the article here.
An Interview with RS EDEN's Caroline Hood featured in Minnesota Women's Press
How can action create change? RS EDEN President Caroline Hood has some ideas. She believes that "community-based organizations have to be part of the conversation, as well as research, government, and client voice. If all members are not at the table then it won't work." RS EDEN's services are designed to remove barriers and promote stability and dignity, putting people at the center. Our continuum of supportive housing programs means we can be nimble and responsive to the community.
No One Does It Alone: Success Stems From Working Together
Every RS EDEN client’s journey through our programs is unique, and we take pride in lifting up and sharing their individual stories. This client success story, however, highlights a perspective we don’t always have an opportunity to share. After Monique transitioned from prison to RS EDEN’s Reentry Metro, her parole officer kept in close touch as Monique prepared to transition out of Metro and into the wider community again. In April, Monique got the exciting news that she could successfully move out of Metro and into Kind Hearts Home, a supportive housing unit in Minneapolis. Here is an excerpt from Monique’s parole officer to RS EDEN:
“It is hard to put into words how appreciative I am of [RS EDEN Reentry Metro] staff’s work with Monique.
Celebrating a Community Builder: Farewell to Karen Johnson
“You live here, you create the culture, you have a voice within this frame to build a safe place.” While it’s hard to sum up a decade of work in a word, Karen Johnson’s use of “you”—meaning every one of the 180 adults living at RS EDEN’s Alliance Apartments in Minneapolis—might actually do it.
In her 10 years as Alliance program director, Karen’s approach to leading our largest recovery-focused supportive housing program has been defined by putting the client first. In fact, it’s how she chose to join our team in the first place. “I had collaborated with RS EDEN over the years,” Karen recalls. “I liked the culture, there was an easy flow…and I felt I could be creative. I was purely looking for back-to-basics community building where the client’s voice is first, [and we build that community] with them.”
Call to Action - Board of Directors
Every day, RS EDEN's resilient clients work to overcome barriers including homelessness, substance abuse, and past incarceration. Our staff connects the people we support with the resources and tools to find stable housing, get and stay sober, build community, and more. Through RS EDEN's programs, our clients are writing new stories as they build new beginnings.
Our community needs those new beginnings—especially now. From the tragedy of George Floyd’s murder has come an incredible drive to end injustice and institutional racism, reform the criminal justice system, and make a commitment to equity that goes beyond words. RS EDEN has been striving for this change for nearly 50 years, but this moment demands even more. To get there, we are looking for leaders to join our Board of Directors who can drive lasting change for our community and everyone living in it
Read the position description here.
RS EDEN Announces New President and CEO
Caroline Hood succeeds founder Dan Cain after 45 year tenure leading the human services nonprofit
RS EDEN is proud to announce Caroline Hood as its next President and CEO. As former Vice President of Programs at The Family Partnership, Caroline brings nearly two decades of experience working with individuals and families in diverse communities with a focus on equity and social justice.
Before her time with The Family Partnership, Caroline served as the Executive Director for the Center for Recovery and Wellness and the Associate Division Director of Addiction Services at Educational Alliance, Inc., in New York City. Prior to that, Caroline was the Regional Director for the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene’s Project HOPE, a program that provided individual and group crisis counseling services to children, adults, and families experiencing trauma. Caroline has served in a variety of roles, all supporting communities seeking relief from mental illness, addiction, homelessness, and trauma.
Caroline holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Columbia University. Caroline is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) in the state of Minnesota, as well as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in both California and New York.
"From supportive housing to reentry services to support for those with chemical dependency, RS EDEN has been an innovator in building new beginnings for underserved individuals and families,” said Caroline. “I am honored to lead this incredible organization as we continue to rebuild communities, empower individuals, and advocate for equity in the new decade.”
Caroline succeeds Dan Cain, who has successfully led the organization as its President for more than 40 years, building it into a respected and reliable community resource. Under Dan’s leadership, RS EDEN expanded from solely targeting those in need of addiction services to provide a wide array of programs targeting those in greatest need. John Hoffman, Board Chair remarked, “RS EDEN has been a groundbreaker for many years and we are excited to work with Caroline in the next phase of our continuing evolution. We know Caroline will continue to grow RS EDEN’s mission investing in innovation to drive gender and racial equity in our community. Finally, the Board of Directors would like to thank Dan for his vision, hard work and commitment to always putting our clients first.”
RS EDEN Reentry Services Director Addresses Women and Reentry Challenges at Minnesota Department of Corrections Conference
On April 23, 2018, the Minnesota Department of Corrections Task Force on Justice Involved Women and Girlsheld their annual conference, sponsored in part by RS EDEN. This year’s conference focused on the disparate treatment of women and girls in the criminal justice system. Task Force members LuAnne Buck, Director of Reentry Services for RS EDEN, and Amber Jochem, Community Outreach Manager of Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge, spoke about the challenges women face reentering the community from incarceration.
Graduation Celebration at Portland Village
Light up the grill, pour the lemonade, and cut the cake…the Portland Village family housing community is celebrating graduations of all kinds. This year the community celebrated the accomplishments of 14 tenants—adults and children—who graduated from elementary to junior high, from junior high to high school, who completed drug court, and who received their GED. The Graduation Celebration is an annual event for tenants to socialize, celebrate goals, and simply enjoy a summer afternoon together with food and fun.
The Lifers: Creating a Safe Space
As a former offender and convict, I know firsthand the challenges of reentry. While I served a relatively brief term (I was released at age 23), acclimating to "normal" society can be far more challenging for those reentering the community after decades of incarceration.
In response to the reentry needs of long-term offenders, in January 2013 I offered our space to a group of ex-offenders, all of whom had served a long period of incarceration for some type of homicide. We named this group the “Lifers” and the goal was to create an environment of mutual support. Participation was totally voluntary, with no contractual arrangement with the Department of Corrections. My role as facilitator was essentially to buy the pizza and get out of the way, offering limited input and direction, while allowing the group to take whatever direction the they would choose.
Fresh Faces at Fresh Grounds Café
Imagine commuting to work on a 32” Nimbus unicycle. Gabriel, 16, rides to his shifts at Fresh Grounds Café, causing coworkers and customers to smile in wonder. Gabriel heard about the Fresh Grounds Café training program when he was 14 and attending the nearby Nova Academy. The Fresh Grounds trainee recruiter visited his school to give a presentation about the benefits of training. Gabriel had to wait until he turned 15 to enroll; and after training had to wait again until 16 to be hired. But according to Gabriel, it was worth the wait. “Fresh Grounds helped me with socializing, memorizing recipes, and multi-tasking,” he comments. Working about 20 hours weekly over the summer, Gabriel spends his spare time atCircus Juventus, where he has been training for the past eight years.
Women and Children in Recovery at RS EDEN
RS EDEN Women’s Program provides family-centered substance use disorder treatment for women and their children. Treatment services are offered in the newly-renovated 614 Grant building in Minneapolis. The building was purchased in 2016 and redesigned intentionally to create a family-centered, trauma-informed environment in which women and children can heal together. Women attend treatment groups to address trauma, parenting skills, chemical dependency, and mental health. Mindfulness, yoga, and meditation techniques are part of their recovery, as well as regular family events and outings including trips to the Minnesota Zoo, State Fair, local libraries, and other sober family events. Children are welcome at the building and central to the family’s recovery process. Mothers and children live together in the nearby Lorraine Apartments, a place where women can free themselves from substance abuse, stay safe, and practice a change in lifestyle and commitment to sobriety that supports healthy families. Children are supported with access to PICA Head Start and transportation to various school programs.
Tenant Satisfaction High at RS EDEN Supportive Housing
In Spring of 2018, RS EDEN’s Asset Management Division conducted a tenant survey at all its metro housing locations with a 59% return rate. The average rating about how RS EDEN operates its housing was a 9 out of 10. Tenants especially appreciate the safety and stability that RS EDEN housing programs provide, the recovery focus, and the staff, units, and larger community.
RS EDEN’s Emanuel Housing Designed by Cermak Rhoades Architects Received the 2018 Affordable Housing Design Award
AIA Minnesota and The McKnight Foundation proudly announce that RS EDEN’s Emanuel Housing is the winner of the 2018 Affordable Housing Design Award. Located in near U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, the facility offers permanent affordable housing in a vibrant neighborhood, with health care and support services on site. The ideal location, nestled in a mixed-use neighborhood with excellent transit access, provides a population coming out of homelessness with a new opportunity to connect to the broader community.
Recognized for the award is RS EDEN; Cermak Rhoades Architects; Frerichs Construction; Pierce Pini + Associates; Spencer Jones Landscape Architect; Mattson Macdonald Young; and Emanuelson-Podas Inc.
Alliance Apartments Celebrates Diversity
In March, Alliance Apartments hosted the second-annual Avowal: A celebration of Culture. This tenant-led event provides an excellent opportunity to gather for dinner and fellowship, while recognizing the many cultures that come together in the building.
An amazing menu played a starring role in the celebration. Staff and tenants shared traditional foods representing their cultural backgrounds. This year included Liberian food, traditional Jamaican jerk chicken, corned beef, greens of many types, Hawaiian turkey, a Polynesian chicken dish, spaghetti, and traditional wild rice from Red Lake. To continue the conversation about culture and diversity, tenants spoke on a variety of topics.
What makes the tenant-led celebrations at Alliance so amazing is the enthusiasm of the tenants. Watching them come together as a group of people from every walk of life and share their stories, their perspectives, and their knowledge, is truly inspiring. According to Program Manager, Karen Johnson: "It is impressive to see the tenants come together for this event, to lead and to share. We watch them break their own stereotypes as they contribute their talents and their wisdom. The staff get to just sit back and enjoy." The 2018 Avowal was a tremendous success.
RS EDEN is an equal opportunity employer whose mission is to provide recovery, accountability, and support services facilitating individual, family, and community movement from non-productive behavior to responsible, self-sufficient lifestyles.