Helping our new program

Richard Reuer, Minot

I just want to say that I’m happy to be one of the volunteers for the new men’s shelter program in Minot.

I just recently retired from my last place of work last December and I had prayed that a shelter program would open up for the homeless men here in Minot. I was going to talk with Mac from the Minot Area Homeless Coalition, Inc., where I spend some of my time volunteering. I was going to sit down and talk with him about establishing a men’s shelter program for the homeless, especially those who had jobs but struggled with coming up with the first months deposit, security deposit and rent money.

I was going to share with him a program that I was involved with as the manager of the homeless working men’s shelter with The Salvation Army in San Francisco. I really was not sure where to start as I had no experience in starting a program such as this, but with prayer and asking God to give me the right plans, a program was developed, the word got out and I was overseeing 44 men who came seeking our facility. I had a staff of three men. They rotated during the evening shifts, while I took care of the administrative and initial intake, which included a drug testing.

We had three dorms and I had each dorm select a dorm monitor who would be in charge of assigning men in their dorms of chore duties, as this was their place and they were responsible for the upkeep. This help cut down the cost of hiring a janitor to clean up. Each month they would select a new dorm monitor.

There were times we would do a random drug screening, if there were any reasons of someone using or if any signs of drug usage being done in the facility. If anyone did not pass the drug test, they were dismissed from the program and were asked to leave at that time. If anyone walked in while a random drug screening was going on, they were to check with the front desk personnel on duty. If they left without checking in, they were dismissed from the program as well.

We had bunkbeds in each of the dorms as well as wall lockers for each person. They were given a combination lock, which only I as the administrator had the combination as well, just in case someone would leave the program and never took their belongings. Their personal belongings would be packed and put in storage for up to 30 days. After 30 days, they were donated to a local thrift store.

This is a program that I would like to see here in Minot. I’m sure there are many men out there that are working, but cannot afford to move into an apartment right away.

Again, I’m happy to say that I’m able to be a part of this new program that has started up, and I know it’s only for the cold season. But I hope that if the need is even greater throughout the year, maybe a program like the one that I was sharing from San Francisco could benefit our community.

And maybe, our local churches would be interested in providing breakfast and/or evening hot home cook meals on a rotating basis.