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Bismarck shelter closure leaves men scrambling for refuge

November 2, 2017

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Several homeless men have been forced back onto the streets after the recent closing of the only emergency men’s shelter in Bismarck-Mandan.

With snow expected this week, the closure of the Ruth Meiers Hospitality House, which charged its tenants $2 a night, has men desperately looking for another place to stay, The Bismarck Tribune reported. The facility has offered emergency shelter since 1987.

“Their community support came because they provided emergency shelter,” said Sister Kathleen Atkinson, who works with men in her prison re-entry ministry. “It continues as a need and now we’re in a crisis, responding to that need.”

Terry Pierson, a former shelter resident, said he’s temporarily staying with a friend at the emergency shelter’s apartments. Tenants can occupy the apartments until Nov. 17. They cost $60 a week. People with certain felony convictions, including sex offenders or those convicted of violent crimes, aren’t permitted to stay at the facility.

Jena Gullo is the executive director of the nonprofit Missouri Slope Areawide United Way. She said the nonprofit received a donation that allowed the agency to help some of the shelter’s former tenants get hotel rooms.

“We were not going to allow people to sleep out in the cold,” Gullo said.

However, the nonprofit has limited funds for the temporary crisis plan, Gullo said.

She said United Way is searching for a location where an emergency shelter can be built.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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