Ruth Meiers closing emergency shelter Friday

On Friday a safe haven for homeless men in the Bismarck-Mandan area will be closing its doors. 
Just in time for winter to hit. But many are already working on a solution and Shelby Rose has the story.

Darvens Jeanmary stayed at the shelter. He'd been there awhile

"...breaking the law. Go to jail. Keep warm in jail until I get money," said Jeanmarie. 

He's talking about talking about the drastic measures that have crossed his mind. He's not the only one displaced.

"I'm mad," said Jesse Salzar. "Because they don't treat people the way I think they should be."

A group of men currently living at Ruth Meiers hang out outside the Bismarck Public Library. The news of the shelter's closing brought Jeanmary to his breaking point.

He added, "I pretty much laid in the middle of a highway, like for a car to run me over."

Others are still holding on to hope.

"Before winter really gets in, they'll have something covered. I really do believe that. I really do believe that. And there's more people pushing for it now through many different outlets than it used to be," said Ricky Lewellen.

Jeannie Messall is the executive director for the Missouri Valley Coalition for Homeless People. She's been working around the clock getting nearly 30 organizations together to come up with a solution and funding.

"You never know what North Dakota's going to bring to us. We can't have guys on the streets. We can't have families on the streets," said Messall.

The building on 23rd street was sold to Heartview Foundation. But they're willing to let it be used as a shelter with provided leasing. Messall says to keep it running for 5 months, it'll cost around $125,000. The funding is tight, but they're already planning multiple fundraisers to get the ball rolling and get these men out of the elements. 

Messall added, "We can take care of it for 5 months but what are we going to do after that? And there again, it's a matter of, it's a community situation."

According to the interim executive director of Ruth Meiers, the building sale won't be complete until mid-November. So residents might not have anywhere to go until then.

"I just, you know, trust in God. That's the only way I can go," said Lewellen.


Messall told us a fundraiser will be happening from Thursday to Saturday in Mandan. It'll be held at the Buffalo Commons Brewing Company from 5 to 9 P.M. and a German food truck is coming out as well. 


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