In January of 2017, as temperatures dropped to dangerously cold, Grace Lutheran Church got a call asking if there was any way we could open our doors for a few folks to sleep in a safe, warm place instead of on the streets or in their cars. There may have been 100 reasons to say no. We said yes.
Grace leadership had already been engaged in conversation about the reality of homelessness in Dakota County, and as individuals ages 8 months to 82 years found a mattress here, we were confronted with that reality once more. Graciousness and generosity showed up during those days, but that wasn’t the end of the need.
This winter, alongside other congregations in Dakota County, we’re opening our doors again. In partnership with other churches, Dakota County, and Matrix Housing Services, a rotating emergency shelter plan has been put in place for winter 2017-2018. Grace will kickoff this year’s shelter, with individuals bunking down here from November 1st-11th.
We need help, both here at Grace and throughout the season. Below you’ll find key ways that anyone can get involved; giving of time, talent, and treasure to live out God’s call to take care of those in deep need.
Matrix Emergency Shelter in Dakota County Information
If you or your group are interested in donating supplies for the shelter, you can see what we currently need via the button below or this link here: https://glcav.us/matrixinkind
This site also includes information about where and when you can drop off supplies. Please check this site regularly because it will be updated as our needs change throughout the winter.
It will cost $1300/per day to operate the shelter. As many of you are aware, Dakota County has contracted with us for a portion of the expenses in operating the shelter, but our fundraising efforts continue. We need your financial support to make this shelter a reality! You can make a donation by sending a check payable to Matrix Housing Services, 2929 4th Avenue S, Suite 210, Minneapolis, MN 55408, or at the Matrix website via the button below.
Serve Dinner at the Shelter
We need groups to plan, purchase, and prepare a meal for 60 people, serve it at 7:00 p.m. at the shelter, and clean up afterwards. Typically, group members have time to eat dinner with shelter guests. If your group wants to sign up to serve dinner, the coordinator should sign up using the button below, or this link: https://glcav.us/matrixmeal
Be a Shelter Aid in the Evening or Overnight
Evening shelter aids are at the shelter 5:45 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. to help open the shelter, check in guests, distribute supplies, visit with guests, and assist staff with cleaning and other duties. Overnight shelter aids are at the shelter 10:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. to help staff with setting out breakfast, waking guests, doing laundry and other cleaning, and closing the shelter. There is typically time to sleep during the overnight shift. Sign up for one or more shelter aid shifts using the button or this link: https://glcav.us/shelteraid
All people interested in volunteering as a shelter aid must pass a background check and attend a volunteer training. You can sign up for shelter aid shifts after your scheduled volunteer training. Sign up for a training below or at this link: https://glcav.us/sheltertrain
Questions? Contact Matrix Housing Services
Phone: Kristen Brown, Director of Program Development: 612-790-3735
A message from our friends at Matrix Housing Services
Much is happening to prepare to open the temporary winter shelter on November 1st. We will be serving 50 single adults experiencing homelessness through April 1st at various sites throughout Dakota County. We will now be sending weekly updates so you have all of the latest information and can spread the word about the shelter! You can also stay up to date by visiting our Facebook page, Facebook.com/matrixhousingservices
Over the past two months we have partnered with churches to host the shelter for 17 of the 22 weeks of the winter, raised $60,000, met with Dakota County staff about meeting the transportation and social service needs of shelter guests, begun hiring staff for the shelter, and worked closely with the volunteer committee to flesh out the volunteer and donation needs. Because of the hard work of the Volunteer Committee, our sign-up genius pages are ready! See the links above to sign up.
Subi Ambrose, Executive Director
Kristen Brown, Director of Program Development
Matrix Housing Services
The Volunteer Committee
Ann Ryberg, Chair, member of Shepherd of the Valley
Kathy Anderson, member of St. John Neumann
Scott Brazil, Risen Savior Catholic Community
Erin Maye Quade, member of Grace Lutheran Church
Angela Steenberg, member of St. Thomas Becket
Members of Grace Lutheran
Our shelter dates are from November 1-11. If you would like to sign up for in-kind donations specifically during Grace’s shelter dates (or already have and want to check on what’s still needed) you can find that information using the button below or this link: https://glcav.us/glcsupplies