Holiday Season Highlights Needs Of The Homeless
For some, the holidays can be can be a time for family and friends to come together over a delicious meal. For others, it can be a tough reminder of not having any place to go. The Red Lake Homeless Shelter works year round to ensure that as many people as possible have a roof over their heads, especially at this time of year.
Rita Weise started at the shelter as a case manager when it opened its doors in 2005. She says its been pretty evenly full since the beginning.
The Red Lake Homeless Shelter sees about 250 to 300 clients each year, many coming back for their services.
The housing component of their work is highly sought after. Both Weiss and Jordan May, the executive director, say that there are many housing barriers for people to over come.
The organization can provide a place to stay for just over 20 people its shelter.
However, tenants at the shelter are only able to stay for 60 days a year and need to have a month long break between stays. They do provide low income housing as well, with a subsidy that can partially pay for some of their rent.
There’s a waiting list to receive their services and they try to find accommodations for those in need while they wait in other cities.
Jordan May says there simply aren’t enough grants, donations, committees or resources, to provide for those in need.
Shelter employees say personal hygiene items such as soap, shampoo and conditioner, and towels are especially needed at the moment.
According to a 2014 assessment by the Center City Housing Corporation, there was not enough emergency shelters in Bemidji or Red Lake. At one area shelter, people had to sleep on the floor due to lack of space.