Loaves and Fishes is a community of people inspired by Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement. We believe in a world that is abundant with resources and love, and that there is enough for everyone if we share. As a community we offer family-style hospitality to people experiencing homelessness; operate a no-cost neighborhood bicycle shop to promote shared economics; organize with our neighbors to protect everyone’s right to housing, and study and practice nonviolence in our interpersonal relationships and our politics. Loaves and Fishes is entirely volunteer-run and receives no government funding.
Founded by Angie Miller and the late Steve O’Neil in 1989, we seek to respond to community needs through volunteer labor and sharing our own homes. Our primary work is to provide shelter and support to people experiencing homelessness. Two of our houses in the Endion neighborhood function as hospitality houses for those experiencing homelessness, providing overnight accommodations to an average of 20 people, with many more using our houses during the day for mail, wifi, laundry, showers, food, and companionship. Since 2018 we have also partnered with CHUM to support operations at the Warming Center, an emergency overnight space for people who cannot or will not access traditional shelter. In addition to our work on housing and homelessness, Loaves and Fishes runs a no-cost community bicycle shop, provides foster care to children, and shares community gardens and other food resources with neighbors in need. It has always been important to us to address the root causes of social problems, and so we also spend a lot of time advocating for a more just and equitable society. Loaves and Fishes helped launch the annual Housing for All Summit in St Louis County, as well as the Local Solutions to End Poverty candidate forum.
In the 32 years since our founding, housing has become more scarce and less affordable in Duluth. Coupled with easier access to more devastating drugs, this has led to an alarming increase in both the numbers of people experiencing homelessness and the chronic nature of the crisis. No longer can we make room on the couch or the floor for someone who has no other option. These days we can turn away 30 or 40 people a day who call our houses looking for shelter. In 1989, most of our guests found housing within thirty days. Today, people wait for subsidized housing for a year to two years, and even those who are working full time and relying on the market struggle to find affordable options in under six months.
Stepping On Up
Loaves and Fishes supports the Stepping On Up proposal as an innovative idea designed to change the progression of homelessness in our community. This three-phase plan addresses the needs of those experiencing homelessness by meeting people where they are at in a dignified and sustainable way. This program is designed to be a fluid system that utilizes existing community resources more efficiently and benefits the people we are serving in a way that builds strength in individuals and strength in the community.
Loaves and Fishes 1712 Jefferson St, Duluth, MN 55812 218-724-2054 www.loavesandfishesduluth.com