BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Earlier Thursday, many who depend on the shelter at the Bismarck United Way 24-hour home were concerned.
They said they were initially told that because of a staffing shortage, they had to leave the shelter for several hours during the day if United Way could not find anyone to cover. They were given a three-hour notice that they were to be out from 4 to 8 p.m.
Though four hours may seem like a short period of time, but in 90-degree weather with no place to call home, this can seem unbearable to many.
Those who stay at United Way suffer not only from homelessness but various disabilities and health issues, including a disabled mother of two.
“I’m having to figure out on a short notice where I’m going. I honestly don’t know where I’ll be going with my two kids; I’m on disability so income is very low, and I don’t have much money to take them to the waterpark or somewhere to have fun,” Huehen said.
KX News was able to speak with Jena Gullo, United Way’s executive director, who says they were able to find someone to cover the time so no one had to leave the shelter.
But Gullo added they need more staff — and more funds, especially after being denied a $250,000 grant.
“We’ve only been having just one person at the shelter at a time, it’s really tough,” said Gullo.
Although Gullo said there’s a new facility expansion underway, the current facility is inadequate and has many issues.
“We’re doing this because we are caring, and we recognize that our current shelter is inadequate; the space alone is inadequate, and I would love it if every person in our community schedules a tour, and we will show you how needed a new permanent shelter is,” Gullo said.
Gullo added the priorities are to keep the shelter up and running for the vulnerable members of our community.
Many rumors surround the shelter that not only affects the facility but so many lives. Every resident we spoke with showed their greatness and appreciation for the shelter.
But after this scare, many are confused, left with questions and pray this doesn’t happen again. The funding for the shelter is still up in the air.
Gullo said that if the money doesn’t come, then they will have to cut some services — services that help the most vulnerable in our community.