We outfit homeless individuals with the items they need to start a new job

Our sole purpose is to outfit homeless and housing insecure individuals, who have found new jobs, with the specific things that they need to start back to work. We believe gainful employment is a key factor in helping individuals secure and maintain stable housing. With our practical and timely assistance, that few other agencies provide, we help remove obstacles that often prevent workers from being able to take a job – like required work clothes and work shoes, trade tools, professional licenses or union dues, and an unlimited 31-day bus pass so they have a reliable way to get to work everyday for an entire month.


To outfit homeless individuals with the required work items they need to start a new job.


To remove the obstacles homeless individuals face when employment opportunities arise.


We strive to ensure that every applicant that walks through our doors is seen as a human being with potential.


We provide the necessary work items and transportation support needed for our clients to show up ready to succeed.


Gainful employment is a key factor in helping individuals secure and maintain stable housing, stability and independence.


Last year we surpassed 6,000 clients served by Small Sums to date.

Our Story

Back in 2005 a group of local volunteers and philanthropists who had been active in the homeless community came together with an idea. Having history working alongside homeless folks and hearing about their biggest struggles, they came to understand that those who had the drive and determination to work often faced a huge obstacle:

They were able to find the job and get hired, but coming up with the work tools, uniform or proper footwear was a challenge that brought stress, anxiety and doubt. 

They decided to take action and that’s when Small Sums was founded. They knew then, and we still know now, that employment is a critical part of acquiring and maintaining stable housing and that often a “small sum” is all that’s needed to help someone on their journey.
Our programs have evolved over the years to meet the changing needs of the homeless community and since the pandemic hit, we’re now including those in unstable housing. But. One thing remains the same: Our goal is to foster self-sufficiency among new workers in need of stable housing.


In 2018, we helped 652 individuals get back to work. For 2019, we provided back-to-work assistance for 714 homeless workers. We estimate that the universe of homeless individuals who need and could access our assistance is close to 1000-1200 annually in the Twin Cities metro. We achieve good results. We start with success because 97% of our homeless clients have found verifiable jobs when they come to us, which is a testament to their resilience and determination in their daunting circumstances.


The stats we have right now do not reflect the impact that Covid has had on our homeless community and those that were already one paycheck away from disaster.

With our practical and timely assistance that few other agencies provide, we help remove obstacles that often prevent workers from being able to take a job. Clients hear about us by word of mouth or are referred to us by other organizations. After a quick intake over the phone, and after their employment is verified, we are able to schedule clients within 1-2 business days. No long waits, no piles of paperwork. Just quick assistance that helps workers who need help quickly.

Here are Small Sums clients back at work

Make a Difference Today

Homelessness is not something we can tackle alone. We need your support.


Your  donation helps get a homeless client to their first and next paycheck, and into stable living.

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