Bismarck’s only homeless shelter has been at its full capacity for nearly five months.
At the toughest point, 135 people were on the waiting list. But, things have changed in the last couple of months.
The MSA United Way shelter now has no waiting list and is able to once again bring in more people. The Executive Director says it’s thanks in large part to weekly, free mass testing in the Capital City.
It allows them to test everyone before coming into the shelter, so they can now house closer to full capacity, knowing everyone there is COVID-19 negative, and sheltering in place.
But, at the end of the day, Director Jena Gullo says a bigger shelter is a must in order to get the homeless population back on their feet.
“We are scrunched in tight, and we definitely do need a bigger shelter for the community. And there’s many reasons, but one: this virus isn’t going away anytime soon. Other shelters around the state have enough space where if someone tests positive or has symptoms, they can isolate people. We have no space to be able to do that,” Gullo added.
She tells us a new shelter is in the works. The fundraising is happening now to hopefully, break ground in the fall.