BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — From fundraisers and donations to the volunteers who built beds and cleaned, a dream for the homeless in our community is now a reality.

After struggles with staff, finances and so much more, they have prevailed, and are now unveiling the new Center for Opportunity and Emergency Homeless Shelter.

“A place where people feel dignified and uplifted when they’re at their lowest low,” stated Executive Director, Jena Gullo. 

The current shelter has one shower for all 57 shelter residents — but this is one of the many things that will change in the new building. From laundry services to printers and more restroom space, the new center will possess a massive list of improvements.

“Instead of a small shelter, a small space where they have to sleep in the same room with other women who are homeless, kids will be able to have their own private space for sleeping with their families, as well as private space during the daytime hours,” explained Gullo. “The new space has computers for clients to use. They’re going to be able to use them for employment applications, housing applications, and getting linked to other resources.”

Not only will this be a great place for families to get on their feet, but it will also serve as a place for networking, general resources, and recovery assistance.

“We’re working in unison together with the client,” shared Gullo, “and with other agencies, so we’re not duplicating efforts, and so we’re expediting the help in the linkages to the help. It’s services that we may take for granted that help you to develop.”

Gullo says to her the most exciting part of it all is the benefits that the center will provide to children.

“We’re also going to have a child watch area,” she noted. “So the YMCA — we were able to raise additional dollars for the center of opportunity and give additional dollars to the YMCA to provide child watch. This means that families will have a safe place for their kids while they’re going on interviews or receiving that vital one-to-one support.”

Gullo shares that this is only phase one, and the shelter will still be open 24 hours for those in need. Once families and individuals are moved over to the new side of the shelter, the group will begin to revamp the current housing quarters.

The final touches are underway, but Gullo says she’s not yet sure about a move-in date for shelter residents — however, they are getting closer and closer each day.

The public is invited to a ribbon cutting at the Missouri Slope Areawide United Way for a tour of the shelter and box lunch, starting April 20, at 11:30 a.m. More details can be found on their website.