Village Of Hope Homeless Shelter Hosts Open House In Bemidji
The Village of Hope emergency shelter in Bemidji kicked off its 12 Days of Hope media campaign today, an initiative that was started due to the shelter not being awarded one its key foundation grants.
The shelter opened its doors to the community for an open house in efforts to provide the community an opportunity to see the services the shelter offers and talk with staff to gain a better understanding of what the shelter needs.
“This really does help the community come in and see what actually is happening – when you’re a non-profit sometimes you just go about and you do good work and you don’t really tell the stories,” said Sandy Hennum, Village of Hope Executive Director. “So having people come in and actually have an opportunity to talk with the staff and see it in person, really helps solidify their partnership.”
The shelter has been a part of the community for 10 years now, and just like any other non-profit organization, funding is a huge part of the business. Without the proper sustainability, families that are in need of shelter lack a valuable resource.
“I think it’s important that the community understands the impact that homelessness is currently playing on the families and especially the children in the Bemidji area,” said Hennum.
In 2019, Village of Hope has served 50 families and 82 children. However, being the sole family-based homeless shelter in the area, there are approximately 54 homeless families who are on the wait-list. The tenants at the shelter have a close relationship with their case manager, who helps families find a place to live after they leave the shelter.
“These people need a second chance, and all that I ask is that some of these landlords just step up and say, ‘hey, you know, they are trying to change their lives, they’re trying to be better,’ please, and I just wish that these landlords would just step up and say, ‘hey, I have some apartments or I have some housing or I have something out there that I’d be willing to let one of your tenants rent from me, I’ll give them a second chance,'” said Barbara Eckman, Village of Hope Case Manager.
There are so many ways you can help families at the shelter. It’s as simple as transporting a family to and from work or their child to and from school as well as donating personal and cleaning supplies to the facility. Those who stopped by the open house also gave donations and bought some of the items that were prepared by the families.