Area churches are trying to take care of the homeless in Dickinson.
but they say, without a homeless shelter, there is only so much they can do.
Ray Strickland has more.
Although it was worse in the oil boom, homelessness is still a concern.
“Even in places like Dickinson, [people] who sleep on the street, that’s a little surprising but we see it all the time.”
That’s Our Saviours Lutheran Church Pastor Brian Davidson.
He says during the oil boom his church and others had to do something about the homeless problem.
“The only solution we could come up with was to follow the lead of Fargo and open up our church buildings,.”
Pastor Davidson’s church is apart of a coalition of churches called Dickinson Churches United for the Homeless.
He says cost became an issue to continue providing temporary shelter, but he says that doesn’t mean the need went away.
“For me personally, the city or county has to take ownership of this need,” Pastor Davidson said.
Right now, a motel is the closest thing to a homeless shelter.
Dickinson Churches United for the Homeless and other organizations provide vouchers for them to stay for about two days.
But, after that…
“No, there is no place to go and that’s really a travesty that there isn’t something in place,” he said. “We can only do what we can do.”
“it’s here, but it’s not the visible kind of homelessness that people think of when they hear that word,” Denise Steinbach from the Community Action Partnership said.
She says a shelter can help people transition to live on their own.
“At least it’s something between being homeless and being able to get into that apartment when you’re ready too.”
Pastor Davidson and Steinbach both agree although the need is there, the cost to finance the building may not be.
“That’s the burning question,” Steinbach said.
Steinbach says it’s hard to count the amount of people who are homeless because of people who live in their cars or those who couch surf.
But, she says a homeless shelter is definitely a need.