With the number of positive COVID-19 cases growing in the state, people are doing their best to socially distance. That also includes homeless shelters, and shelters in the Minot area are continuing to serve those in need, safely.
Providing shelter, resources and services to the Minot community are what the YWCA, Domestic Violence Crisis Center, Minot Area Homeless Coalition and Men’s Winter Refuge do every single day. But with COVID-19, staff are taking extra precautions to keep themselves and the people they help safe.
The YWCA and Minot Area Homeless Coalition require people entering the buildings to sanitize their hands. Both organizations are also not accepting donations at this time.
“We love our community and we love how generous Minot and the surrounding areas are, and we could not be here without you and your item donations. However, we need to keep the safety and health of our clients, our number one priority, so that’s something we’re implementing in order to do that,” said Meghan von Behren, executive director YWCA.
Mac McLeod, executive director at the Minot Area Homeless Coalition has also changed how people access the pantry.
“Tell me the things that you need, I’ll tell you if I have them. I’ll pack your bag and I’ll put it outside and they can come,” said McLeod.
Staff at every organization ask that you call ahead before showing up.
“We’re trying to get to the people who actually need help, but it’s just in a different form and the time frame is different. A lot of it is not face to face,” McLeod said.
The DVCC and YWCA are accepting women, but they cannot have symptoms of COVID-19. If they are showing symptoms, staff say they’ll get them in contact with medical services to help them get the help they need.
“We have already seen an increase in need here. We have women who have been successful and gotten jobs out of here, but they’ve already come back to us. They’ve lost their job, they need diapers, they need help,” von Behren said.
The Men’s Winter Refuge, however, is not accepting new men during the rest of the season. It can provide housing to 15 men, but there are only seven right now to help with social distancing.
“We’re taking all the necessary precautions with hand washing, and sanitizing and all that stuff. Keeping the guys aware of what they need to be watching out for. Knock on wood, all the guys are healthy and all the staff is healthy right now so we’re plugging along,” said Mike Zimmer, executive director, Men’s Winter Refuge.
If men find themselves needing assistance, staff at the refuge say they can help them find other shelters or housing for the time being.
The Lord’s Cupboard food pantry bus is running as usual every Wednesday. Pick up places are the YWCA, Milton Young Towers and Henry Towers.