Knowing Your Neighbors: Warming Up the Homeless

Ruth House Opens as Warming Center

SUPERIOR, Wis.- As the frigid air of night sets in, the question of where to sleep enters the minds of the homeless in Duluth and Superior.

Places like CHUM or Solid Rock often fill up quickly, leaving them with almost no options.

Until now.

The Ruth House in Superior is offering warmth, and care, to anyone who needs it during Northland winters.

“We don’t have a lot to offer, but we offer a place to sleep, a blanket, and in the morning some coffee and something to eat,” said Calliope Wilson.

For the homeless, that’s more than many expect.

Wilson is part of The Ruth House on 12th street in Superior. They their doors when it’s 20 degrees or lower, taking in up to 5 men and 5 women from 7 am to 7pm.

12 hours at an inviting, safe, and most importantly–warm place.

Each night the house is staffed by two volunteers to ensure safety, since they take anyone in regardless of background.

“There’s no shame going on here,” Wilson said. “A lot of us on the committee, most of us on the committee, have been homeless before. So we’re understanding what it’s like and kind of, y’know, have a baseline understanding of what is needed.”

They opened just over a month ago at the end of November, seeing the need for a warm place to sleep, grow.

“We’re watching people get turned away from places like Solid Rock, some people don’t want to go to CHUM, some people don’t qualify for things like CASDA, Harbor House is full, there’s just limited resources available for the overwhelming number of people finding themselves homeless.”

According to Wilson, what they’re doing is one small step in the journey to end homelessness.

“We’re just trying to break down barriers to employment, barriers to housing, those different things, cause we’re finding there’s a lot of different reasons people become homeless.”

Those reasons extended to many of them too, like Calliope.

After battling homelessness herself, this only seemed like the next right thing to do.

“Having gone through homelessness more than once and having to rely on the help of strangers, it makes me feel really good to be able to turn around and be that stranger.”

“You don’t have family? You do now, we’re gonna try to help.”

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