Stories Of Hope After North Mpls. Tornado

(credit: Salvation Army)
Gyniek Clay
Single mother Gyniek Clay was doing laundry in the basement with her 4-year-old daughter when the storm hit. "The lights went out and we heard crashing,” Gyniek said. “We jumped onto the floor and pulled a futon over us. We were very scared, laying there not knowing if the house was going to cave in and kill us.” Left with no home, Gyniek and her daughter have been forced to stay at a multitude of places -- two hotels, a shelter and two friends’ houses. The situation has gotten so bad that she had to send her daughter to live with her sister in Illinois.
(credit: Salvation Army)
(credit: Salvation Army)
Gyniek Clay's Home
Since the tornado, the Salvation Army has provided help to find housing and help with rent and damage deposits. They've given assistance for car repairs. All of her car’s windows were blown out, the rearview mirrors tore off and a few other things were broken. They also gave her two bus cards to search for housing until her car is fixed, a $25 Target card and hygiene supplies.
(credit: Salvation Army)
(credit: Salvation Army)
Melissa Johnson & Family
Melissa Johnson is a single mother with eight kids under the age of 15. Johnson's boyfriend and his 15-year-old son make for a house of 11. They were getting ready for dinner when the storm came. "Suddenly, the front door flung open,” Melissa said. “I told everyone to get in the basement. As we headed down there, the windows were busting out and the back door came flying open. Trees – big trees – started falling on the back of the house.” For several weeks the family was forced to split up because there wasn’t anywhere they all could be at the same time. They all moved back into the house a week ago, but they will be forced to vacate soon. The Salvation Army gave her furniture vouchers and will be helping with relocation expenses once housing is found.
(credit: Salvation Army)
(credit: Salvation Army)
Dennis and Deborah Parker
Dennis and his wife Deborah lived in a rented home with their five kids. "The family was outside and came in after the wind started howling,” Dennis said. “All we heard was 'Bang! bang! bang!' and then the house started shaking. We all ran into the hallway and shut all the doors. We heard trees crashing onto our roof." Their car was totaled, their house was a loss, they lost everything. They stayed in several shelters for several weeks. Elim Transitional put them in three rooms at Extended Stay in Brooklyn Center. They've been turned down at every apartment they've tried to get into. The Salvation Army is providing food and clothing to the family and, once housing is found, will be helping with the damage deposit and the first month’s rent.
(credit: Salvation Army)
(credit: Salvation Army)
Shawn Jackson
Single father Shawn Jackson lived with his two 11-year-old daughters in a rented North Minneapolis home. They were barbecuing when it started raining hard. They ran for cover inside the home. “It happened so fast,” Shawn said. “When it was over, we came back outside and everything was destroyed -- glass everywhere and the roof caved in.” They stayed with family for several weeks. Although Shawn and his daughters moved into a new apartment in June, they lost everything in the tornado. The Salvation Army assisted with the security deposit and first month of rent for his new place, and gave them hygiene products, food and clothing. “The Salvation Army has been tremendously awesome,” Shawn said. “When they gave me these things I started crying. They’ve been helping me the best they can.”
(credit: Salvation Army)
(credit: Salvation Army)
Cecelia O'Neal
Cecelia O'Neal is a single mother who lived in a rented home with her daughter and grandson. She was running errands when the tornado hit. Her daughter called and said they were safe, but the house was destroyed. Though O'Neal had renters insurance, she still needs to spend lots of money that they don’t yet have in order to get their lives back to normal. In a way, she felt that some service agencies were penalizing her for having her life together before the tornado. “I wouldn’t have been asking them for help if I didn’t need it,” she said. The Salvation Army referred her to Bridging, where she received a limited number of furniture items, and also assisted her with July rent.
(credit: Salvation Army)
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