A homeless person standing outside of Pine Technical College, taken in the fall of 2010
When the “A Place For You” meeting began last night, Monday, Mar. 7, at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Deacon Gene Biever talked about a woman who came to the church earlier in the day who is homeless in Pine City, along with her two children.
I thought to myself, “How sad”, because these are the actual faces to the numbers we hear about, the men, women and children of our community. In addition, I also knew of another person who faces homelessness in a couple of weeks if he cannot find a place to live. Personally, I’ve come to know nine (9) homeless Pine Citians in the last year. Our community, unfortunately, is not immune to it.
On January 26, a Pine County Point-In-Time Count was taken. It was a 12 degree F. night, hardly the conditions one would want to be in without a warm, secure place to rest. On that night, there were 38 unsheltered persons counted within the County. In addition, 54 (although, we can assume that more do) people were staying with family and friends to avoid being homeless.
Some of the characteristics of the homeless are that they are veterans, victims of domestic abuse, chronic substance abusers, GLBT, mentally ill, unaccompanied youth and felons. There was nearly every example of it in our county.
Promising was that, at the meetings, progress is being made. “A Place For You” may help alleviate this condition in our community. At last night’s meeting, there was a discussion about whether to serve as an emergency or transitional shelter, and whether to serve singles or families. Pros and cons of possible locations were discussed, including the former county detention center and the former Allina Clinic.
The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Mar. 28 at 5 p.m. For more inforamtion, contact Pine City council member Mary Kay Sloan, who co-chairs along with Deacon Biever, at email@example.com.