January 23, 2019

Starting in October 2018, The Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) has been facilitating monthly meetings with a coalition of area organizations that serve children, families, and individuals facing poverty and homelessness. The coalition was able to identify top three priorities that they can work collaboratively to address:

  1. Increase the number of emergency shelter beds available
  2. Open a daytime shelter
  3. Provide more training for shelter staff and volunteers

In an effort to support the coalition’s work, NMF has awarded four grants to Bemidji organizations to fund existing overnight shelters and daytime shelters for the homeless. Evergreen Youth & Family Services, The Nameless Coalition, Peoples Church, and Face It Together have been identified as organizations that can add capacity to their current operations.

Peoples Church will operate a daytime shelter on a schedule that compliments when the library is closed.  A drop-in center is a place for the homeless to get warm, interact with people, get a meal, and connect to the services they need to get into stable housing.

Evergreen will provide a shelter bed for forty (40) nights for “unaccompanied youth” or youth who just show up looking for help.  The organization lost a large sum of funding for youth that are not placed by social or correctional services, this funding will help to fill that gap.

The Nameless Coalition will increase bed capacity at The Wolfe shelter and invest in vital training for staff.  The shelter manager and four employed assistants will all receive training.

Face It Together will operate a daytime center serving the homeless population during their hours of operation.  The homeless population can come in to get warm, but will also be able to access the services that Face It Together provides.  Face It Together provides peer to peer coaching for alcohol and drug abuse.   The funding would also provide food, supplies, and equipment for the operation of the daytime center.

NMF continues to facilitate meetings with the coalition of area organizations on a monthly basis.