BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A new emergency shelter in Bismarck opened just in time to keep about 30 people warm in this week's storm.

The Missouri Slope Areawide United Way opened the shelter a few hours early in part of the Sunrise Apartments building in downtown Bismarck because of the storm, the Bismarck Tribune reported .

"With it being one of the snowiest nights, we were happy to meet the need," said Jena Gullo, executive director of the Missouri Slope Areawide United Way.

The United Way secured space in the downtown apartments for a temporary housing solution until July, while Bismarck officials work toward a permanent shelter. The agency has been filling the emergency housing gap since Ruth Meier's Hospitality House closed the area's lone emergency men's shelter in October.

The new shelter can house a maximum of 68 people. Women and children are housed in four rooms in a secured wing of the apartment building. There are ten apartments for men.

Those seeking shelter can stay for free up to 30 days as long as they're working on goals leading to self-sufficiency. They also must help with chores and cannot consume drugs or alcohol. After 30 days, clients must pay 30 percent of their income.

The shelter will provide case management and serve meals to residents three days a week.

"We're going to be able to provide more support that people need to get out of their homeless situation," Gullo said. "If we don't address the root causes of homelessness, our numbers are just going to increase. Our goal is to get our numbers to continue to decrease so that people are out on their own."


This story has been corrected to show the shelter opened a few hours early, not a few days early.