Jefferson Area Neighborhood Association (JANA)
Fargo, North Dakota
Gladys Ray Shelter

A summary of shelter activity and information for last quarter follows.

The number of people accessing drop-in and shelter services remained steady throughout April and May. As June progressed we saw a considerable decline in those numbers especially once the weather turned sunny and dry. A number of guests that have been considered "regulars" returned to camping on occasion. For a few days in June we had less than twenty people accessing shelter services. Honestly, it was a welcome break for staff and those guests that were present as it allowed for some breathing room and catch-up time. For the later part of June and through today, the number of people accessing shelter services has remained steady at between 20 and 26 per night. The number of women accessing the shelter is on the rise at this time.

In an effort to better understand the population we serve, we have made it a common practice to ask guests of the shelter what factors influence the trends that we see. One factor that served as a motivator to return to camping was a particularly tough winter. This forced people indoors and shelters to bulge at the seams. Having spent a number of months sleeping within inches of each other at various shelters, eating meals in the same places, and little or no opportunity to find personal space resulted in a return to camping at the earliest opportunity for some. Many of those returned to the shelter, at least occasionally, once they felt they had an adequate break. Another trend we continue to learn more about is the number of homeless individuals that are migrating to the Fargo-Moorhead community from other states after hearing about jobs/economy/opportunity/quality of life through national news stories and word of mouth.

Both seminar groups from the University of Mary are in fill swing with shelter related projects. The first group is developing job descriptions, job evaluations, a policy and procedure manual, and a staff handbook. This group is scheduled to present their final project on July 23rd at 6:00PM. Any members of the Board that would like to attend are welcome to do so and can let me know. I have had a lot of contact and interaction with this group and their commitment to the project has been impressive. The second group started on June 9th and is focusing on a strategic plan. As part of this project the group researched and identified 10 programs throughout the US that were similar in nature to the Gladys Ray Shelter. Using a questionnaire that they had created for this purpose, they have contacted or will contact each of those organizations to solicit information related to long term planning and sustainability. The second group will continue working on this project through the middle of September.

The number of people accessing drop-in services has decreased throughout the Spring and Summer months. We are taking advantage of this by eliminating two nights of scheduled drop-in hours. Starting next week we will not be open between the hours of 6:00PM and 8:30PM on Wednesdays and Fridays. This will allow us to conserve resources and have more flexibility in using those resources during times of higher drop-in/shelter demand. Any on site services that were scheduled on Wednesdays have been moved to other nights. We did not have on site services scheduled on Fridays. Another consideration in choosing which nights to eliminate was the availability of other services or places for people to be during the hours that we would not be open. Drop-in services will continue to be offered as scheduled five days a week. We may consider eliminating a third day of the week during the month of August if circumstances allow for doing so. This does not impact shelter services.

In recent months we have received financial support through grants from the Barry Foundation (Philanthropy and Youth) and the FM Area Foundation. The Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) application was submitted in June. Two additional grants are being pursued at this time - Cass County Sponsorship grant, Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP). Both applications will be submitted before the end of July.