To provide shelter and support in a spiritual setting. We will accomplish this goal by offering spiritual ministry and emotional affirmation and in depth case management to homeless people, furnishing a temporary shelter, and referring residents to appropriate services such as Job Service, Social Services, Mental Health Services, and programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
Churches United for the Homeless was founded by a handful of our communities' churches in the fall of 1987 and for the first 17 years we were housed in the old Bethesda Lutheran Church on the corner of 6th Ave and 2nd Street in Moorhead. In 2004 we moved into our present location at 1901 First Avenue North in Moorhead. Today Churches United for the Homeless receives financial support from nearly 60 member churches, businesses, individuals, United Way, other foundations, and through government service contracts.
Our facility is staffed by people who work on-site, and outreach workers who come into the building to provide services to homeless persons. A few of the local social service agencies we collaborate with include VA Outreach, Lakeland Mental Health, Lakes & Prairies Housing and Legal Aid. Our direct staff includes an executive director, shelter director, family case manager, shelter faith community nurse, development director, and shelter advocates. We are also assisted by a large number of dedicated volunteers who gave us 8,300 hours of their valuable time in 2011.
Churches United provides many services to the homeless in our community. We have emergency shelter beds for individual men, individual women, and both one and two parent families. In 2011 we provided 23,990 nights of shelter.
We provide three meals during the work week and two meals on the weekend. These meals and two daily snacks for children are for both our residents and the general public. In 2011 we provided 69,964 meals and snacks. Each Tuesday our food pantry is open to the public and daily we have a free bakery available for all. In addition we operate a free clothing/furniture store. This store offers residents and the general public access to needed clothes, coats, shoes, furniture, and various household items. In 2011 we assisted over 1,900 people with food, shelter or clothing. In addition, during the 2011-12 winter months, we provided 2,333 nights of overflow shelter on the floors of our chapel, boardroom and other available floor space.
Churches United for the Homeless is the largest shelter in northwestern Minnesota and is the only shelter within 250 miles that is able to accommodate single men, single women, and entire families. We offer a safe haven to those most in need, a chance to reflect on the direction they wish for their lives, and the opportunity to utilize our community's many resources in achieving their goals.
In 2011 Churches United completed a staff reorganization designed to make service delivery even more efficient and effective. A primary goal is to help as many people as possible leave the shelter and become self-sufficient. Through the the 1st quarter of 2012 we have helped 23 men, 8 women and 7 families move into other housing. We expect this positive trend to continue through the rest of the year.