Servants of Shelter is a community based nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation committed to upholding the dignity and respect of homeless persons by providing temporary shelter, guidance and access to community resources. SOS began as a group of volunteers dedicated to providing shelter for individuals and families who lack safe housing. SOS works closely with other social service providers to assist our guests in building stability and safety in their lives. We have provided apartment based shelter to families, couples and individuals in need since 2011. We offer 30-90 day stays in our apartment units, short term hotel stays, bus tickets, grocery vouchers, camping fees, and gear, food, hygiene products and household goods to the most vulnerable in our community.
There has long been a common misconception that homelessness is an urban issue, and not a concern in small towns and rural areas. Although homelessness in our area is largely invisible, it it a serious problem facing a growing number of our neighbors. The reasons for this are complex, but a lack of affordable housing and high rates of poverty are two contributing factors.
In July 2017, we moved into our own apartment building. We have been able to house five times as many families since this purchase. At our new facility we are able to provide case management to each of our guests and onsite staffing and supports. We have had a high success rate of our guests moving onto permanent housing after receiving a 30-90 day stay and case management services. We are excited to serve all of our guests in this way.
In 2020, we expanded our program to offer permanent supportive housing in a second apartment building. This PSH program offers safe, affordable housing with support services for four households at a time. All of our PSH tenants live with a disability and have experienced homelessness within six months of joining the program. Our PSH tenants have formed a close community and their building now features 3 one bedroom units/1 two bedroom unit with hardwood floors, detached garages, onsite laundry, handicap accessible raised garden beds, firepit/ outdoor dining area, and a sandbox and swing for our youngest tenant.
During the first two years of Covid-19, we increased our services to offer extended hotel stays and shelter stays, disbursed reusable cloth face masks/sanitizer, and delivered meals three times a week to our shelter, PSH, and hotels. During periods of Stay at Home and MDH recommended isolation we also delivered meds, and groceries to our guests. We provided over 5,000 nights of shelter in 2021 and in 2022. Due to the high demand for emergency shelter and the need for supportive housing for people experiencing higher barriers we pursued more shelter and PSH space.
In August 2023, we purchased the Northern Lights Motel and immediately began housing people in this new space (9 households the first night). Within five days, we had moved our offices and opened the Northern Lights Drop in Center. This expanded space provides showers, a communal kitchen, self serve hygiene/food/harm reduction shelf, client phone, laundry facilities, and client computer/printer/scanner. Our offices are also located in the Drop-in Center which houses our ED, four Case Managers, a Housing Resource Navigator, and PT Greeter. Onsite also are six studio shelter spaces (30-90) stays and 11 one bedroom supportive housing spaces. The supportive housing spaces are fully furnished, affordable housing for people who live with a disability and were experiencing homelessness prior to move in. When rehab of the building is complete, we will have 16 Supportive Housing spaces in addition to the six studio shelter spaces. Three of these spaces will be wheelchair accessible. We are still in need of considerable funding to rehab these spaces, and complete much needed work on the exterior of the building. Currently, each night Servants of Shelter houses 26 households across all three buildings.
Please know that any donation received will be applied directly to meeting our mission.