Our opinion: Brainerd area is mobilizing to help the homeless

When New Pathways, a nonprofit helping homeless families, closed in Brainerd in 2019, it left a void in the Brainerd Lakes region.

This meant that the homeless population in the area was without local resources for short or long term shelter. The closest place they could go was Saint-Cloud.

Over the past two years, several social service agencies, churches and other concerned residents have held meetings to discuss what could be done to support the homeless in the area, to fill the void left by the departure. from New Pathways.

“It just seems like we’re a pretty big community, and we’re a community that tends to take care of people pretty well except, for some reason, this situation,” said Jana Shogren, executive director of Bridges of Hope. 20 story in the Brainerd Dispatch. “So we just think we should have a local solution for the homeless people. “

This local solution has been found. A proposed overnight warming shelter for South Sixth Street in Brainerd is about to become a reality thanks to the hard work and collaboration of many people, organizations and government entities.

The new facility is expected to have 20 adult beds and be open from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. during the winter months, with trained staff on site during opening hours. The proposed building for the project is at 1919 S. Sixth St.

This is great news for our area and we congratulate everyone who has helped make the warming shelter a reality, from organizations like Bridges of Hope for being a champion of the project, to local government agencies such as the City Council. of Brainerd and Crow Wing County for providing political support to those who attended a weeklong sleepover and raised over $ 200,000 for the facility and program.

We’re sure we missed many of the people and groups who worked to make the Heated Shelter a reality, but their efforts are being noticed and appreciated by the Brainerd Lakes region community.

The harsh truth is that there are homeless people in the Brainerd area who need our help. They might not fit the stereotype that many people have when they think of a homeless person – they might just jump on a couch or sleep in their vehicle. It is a hidden problem that deserves a proper solution.

The heated shelter is an important step, but we hope it is only the first step in restoring continued and expanded services and care for our homeless population. Let’s keep the momentum going. From what we have seen, the whole community is behind.

About William G.

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