Bismarck identifies $10K to assist with homeless crisis
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Bismarck officials have identified $10,000 in their budget to help shelter the homeless after the only men’s shelter in the area closed.
The Bismarck City Commission has requested a plan detailing how the money will be spent.
On Tuesday, the commission discussed allocating some of its special projects fund to help the homeless population in the Bismarck and Mandan areas. It has yet to take any formal action, the Bismarck Tribune reported .
“We want to know ... if the money is going to be used for rent, where is it going to? Because we will be asked those kinds of questions,” said Mayor Mike Seminary.
The Missouri Slope Areawide United Way has been filling the area’s emergency housing gap since Ruth Meiers Hospitality House closed its men’s emergency shelter on Oct. 27. Executive Director Jena Gullo asked the board for financial support earlier this month.
Gullo said the commission’s $10,000 would provide 20 nights of shelter.
The commission’s special projects fund currently contains $35,000. If the total amount isn’t allocated before the end of the year, the remainder would be put in the general fund. Another $35,000 will be available next year.
Officials at the United Way have anticipated that managing housing needs through June will likely cost more than $260,000.
The group has also helped the city explore more than 20 locations for a temporary shelter, but they haven’t identified the best location.
Gullo said finding a short-term lease and zoning restrictions have made the process “slow moving and a real struggle.”
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com