In continuing coverage: Ruth Meiers is officially under new management with Lutheran Social Services.
KX News is looking at how this move will impact the Bismarck area. There will no longer be transitional housing available at the old Ruth Meiers.
According to the LSS website, they will be renaming the apartments Porter Place, and it will all be permanent housing.
This will have a significant effect on the Students in Transition program run by Bismarck Public Schools.
The Program Coordinator says in the long run more permanent, affordable housing in the city will be a good thing, but as of right now, Bismarck no longer has any transitional housing, leaving shelters as the only option for families who need temporary housing.
Transitional housing is set up to eventually move residents into permanent, affordable housing.
Students in Transition provides extra services for students in need. They provide breakfast and lunch, as well as school supplies and winter gear.
Now, with the change over to permanent housing, the Students in Transition Coordinator is unsure of where to send the transient families she works with.
The families who already live there will be able to keep their spot, but they will still be affected by the shift.
Students in Transition Coordinator Sherrice Roness adds, “Probably starting in August now, if this continues and that’s just a permanent housing unit, then those children and families that either are residing or will be residing in that establishment, will not have access to the services from the program, because they will be considered in a permanent home.”
Roness says she’s sat in on initial meetings with LSS about the changes, but she says they haven’t gotten the chance to discuss solutions for the families she works with.
She says, hopefully, LSS will be able to work together with Students in Transition to help these families, and ultimately, come up with a new transitional housing facility.
Students in Transition started in 2006 and has seen tremendous growth since.
It helps not just students of BPS, but some younger siblings, that might not be school age yet.
This year the program is helping more than 460 kids in the Bismarck Public School system. That number is up more than 100 students from 2017-2018 when there were 342.
The highest number of students the program has seen was in 2012-2013 when 460 were enrolled. And the first year in 2006, 136 kids received help from Students in Transition.
For more on Students in Transition, click here.