You did it! On December 1st Lincoln Center was able to reopen thanks to the generous gifts and efforts of so many of you folks and your empathy and concern for the homeless of our community. We now have a space that includes twenty-three rooms that will house 25 people. On the reverse of this page are some pictures of the process and the completed project so that those of you have not yet been able to tour the new facility can see what has been happening. I regret that I was unable to share all of this with you sooner but upon opening, things became very hectic. We had to hire and recruit staff and volunteers in substantial numbers to meet the requirements of the city regarding our ratio of staff-to-residents. This involved not only screening, interviewing, and training applicants, and familiarizing them with our policies and regulations, but also providing CPR, Narcan, and de-escalation training. Then, only three days after we opened, there was a fire at the Salvation Army that caused considerable damage resulting in our taking in several people who are now being housed in the front of the center temporarily until March. The extreme wintry weather we experienced during the last week or so also drove people into the center to warm up.

Our staff and volunteers are doing the best they can to provide excellent care for those coming in off the street. Many of them are experiencing extreme trauma from mental, physical, and chemical stresses. In addition to feeding, clothing, and sheltering these people. Our staff is busy finding housing, suitable care, or treatment. We are planning to provide other services such as mental health care through the Central Minnesota Mental Health Center. CentraCare is providing us with more nursing services, and we hope to offer immunization clinics again this year. Our volunteers have started yoga, Bible study, weekly house meetings, a DJ social on Fridays. Our residents are in the process of setting up AA and NA meetings, a book club, and a beading class. 

The increased staff and the burden of the extra overflow folks are really straining our finances. Our food bill is up, and our heating bill has now accumulated to a balance of $4,873. We know and are grateful for all you have done for us in the past, by enabling us to bring our building up to code. However, we now have to come back to you urgently to help us through the remainder of the winter until Salvation Army can reopen and take care of those people who must sleep on the street due to the shortage of shelter space in the city. 

You can help by sending us a contribution to assist us with our expenses, or by volunteering, so that we can meet our city obligations. Volunteers do count towards our staffing requirements. If you are unable to do this, please consider purchasing milk, cereal, water, or individually wrapped snacks and paper product items to help us with our food bill. We are grateful to Place of Hope, Agape Warriors, Guice Harbor, the Benedictine Min Saint Joe, Holy Spirit church, Joe and Amy Maiers, Fathers Tony and Frank, Byerly’s, Dutch Maid Bakery, and any others of you who helped feed our people.

The newly remodeled center is already making a substantial difference in their lives. Most are calming down, making plans for their future, striving to find jobs or housing. No longer are individuals trapped in a frantic day-to-day struggle just to survive. Thank you all so very much for making this possible. 

Harry, Mary, and your neighbors struggling to escape homelessness.

Make checks payable to Homeless Helping Homeless PO Box 475, Saint Cloud MN 56302, or donate cash or stock online at via the Net Giver or Infinite Giving links.