The situation on the street became somewhat less dire this past week as churches, community organizations, government, businesses and individuals rose to the challenge of defending everyone in our community from the worst of the Covid-19 epidemic onslaught. Last Sunday we had only 7 who we were able to house in motels from the street. By today, thanks to all our generous donors and organizations like Neighbors to Friends, Catholic Workers of Central Mn, Catholic Charities, Place of Hope and several area churches, there are now 20. On Wednesday The Place of Hope generously offered the motel residents a free hot meal each evening. They started the same day and have already provided 103 meals. Also, on Wednesday, Mayor Klies and the administration of the city of Saint Cloud proposed allocating funds to support the housing of our town’s unsheltered to the city council. The proposal is now in the public hearing stage Until 3:00 on Monday. Please let the city council members know if you support the use of CDBG funds for this purpose. Go the city’s website and check out Monday’s council agenda for more details
On Thursday the America Best Value Inn and Suites decided to offer complimentary lunches to our guests staying there, Neighbors to Friends started providing breakfasts and laundry money. Bishop Kettler approved a grant of $5,000 from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to help fund motel rooms for those on the street. This effort is a huge undertaking involving all sectors of our city and the response shows the determination of our citizens to keep this pandemic in check.
The costs are high. The motel we are using has committed 30 rooms to us for a monthly cost of $37,000 per month to house 60 people. We already have 20 in there and have another 33 on the waiting list, we also know of at least 8 others whom we are having trouble contacting because they move around and have no phones. The CBDG money will be a big help and allow us to get lots more folks into a safe, hygienic location where they can more easily maintain their health and be less likely to become exposed or expose others.
This week Troy continued excelling at being our feet on the ground enabling HHH to distribute 10 gas cards, a tent , air mattress, 3 sleeping bags 13 sets of clothes, 11 personal care kits, and 82 hot meals given at Lake George, with the help of Neighbors to Friends, Catholic Charities and Catholic Workman. We had 3 furniture pickups and 11 deliveries. We provided 112 motel stays
We have received donations of woven mats from Weaving with Love, clothing from Joy Christian Center, care packs and masks from Bethlehem Lutheran, Tide pods and Easter baskets from Neighbors to Friends. Individual supporters donated clothing, household goods, and toys, along with $2,250 in cash. The toys will be distributed to kids at Hands Across the World, 4 bins of coats donated to us, were given to the KC’s Coats for Kids drive.
We can use pants, sweatpants, shorts, especially men’s sizes under 40 and women’s sizes under 20. Our people often come in with only what they are wearing which is often worn and dirty. We can also use hand sanitizer, and funds for motel rooms.
Remember that even though we must maintain social distancing, that God can pick us up, wrap us in his loving arms and give us a big hug, just when we need it. May He bless you and protect you from all harm.
Harry, Mary, and Troy