Bemidji's homeless will have a place to stay this winter

Author:
Updated:
Original:

The city of Bemidji has granted a permit allowing a night-time homeless shelter to open this winter – something the city's homeless didn't have last year.

The Nameless Coalition for the Homeless has been pushing for a shelter for months to serve homeless adults – many of whom are chronic alcoholics whose needs for shelter aren't being addressed elsewhere in the community.

"The reality is that people experiencing homelessness and who suffer from alcohol abuse live on downtown streets. This shelter will provide the opportunity to develop relationships and possibly the additional step of treatment or permanent housing," the coalition wrote in an editorial published in the Bemidji Pioneer.

And on Wednesday, the Greater Bemidji Joint Planning Board voted 4-1 to approve the interim use permit and variance the coalition needed to open a seasonal adult-only shelter at the site of the Headwaters Unitarian Universalist Fellowship church, according to footage from the meeting, with the church planning to relocate.

The Nameless Coalition intends to purchase the building for $90,000, and hopes to open the shelter by Nov. 1 of this year, the Bemidji Pioneer says. The shelter will have space for 16 people, and will be open from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. from October through April.

The planning commission received both letters of concern and support prior to voting on the shelter, officials said at Wednesday's meeting. Concerns related to the shelter's location, which is near a library and a school. It's also located across the street from a police station.

Another organization, Center City Housing, also plans to open a shelter that will serve the same clientele – chronic alcoholics. The group hopes to open that shelter in the next three to five years, the Bemidji Pioneer says.

Center City Housing has said the needs for homeless people in the region is huge, and the homeless population is growing exponentially.

Survey results showed the number of people who identified as homeless in non-reservation areas of the 12-county northwest region of Minnesota grew 170 percent from 2009 to 2012 – 666 people identified as homeless in 2012.

There were roughly 10,214 homeless people in Minnesota in 2012 – a 6 percent increase from 2009, according to the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, which conducts a survey of the state’s homeless every three years.

Next Up

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2

Minnesota confirms America's 1st case of Brazil P.1 COVID strain

The strain was found in a Twin Cities metro resident who recently traveled to Brazil.

classroom

Gov. Walz announces education plan aimed at eliminating disparities

The plan covers seven categories, including closing the racial education gap and improving opportunities in rural Minnesota

Tax forms

Charges: Otsego cleaning business underreported sales

An Otsego woman is accused of owing more than $20,500 in sales tax, penalties and interest.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 2.58.26 PM

Walz gives vaccine providers 3-day, 7-day deadlines to use doses

Those that don't use their allocation will be given less in the future.

purse

Border officers seize more than $550K in counterfeit designer goods

The shipments of fake goods were seized on Jan. 22.

Landfill plastic bags

4 Twin Cities landfills seek to expand capacity

This comes as the area's waste-to-energy facilities are operating at capacity.

Marcus Carr

3 of 10 finalists for NCAA's top point guard award have MN ties

Not a bad way to represent the State of... Basketball?

Justice, court

Minnesota grants unconditional pardon to grandmother facing deportation

Gov. Tim Walz says it's the first full pardon granted by the state in 35 years.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota changes vaccine appointment process, here's what to know

Walz also announced plans for a mass vaccination event at Xcel Energy Center.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, Jan. 25

The latest figures from MDH have been released.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota health leaders say state's vaccine progress better than figures suggest

Minnesota is lagging behind national vaccination rates, but MDH leaders say this is because it's holding 2nd doses in reserve.

Related