Homelessness in Minnesota is not only a problem in the Twin Cities — it is abundant in the rural areas.
A Place for You is a homeless shelter in Pine City that serves individual men and women from Pine, Kanabec, Carlton, Chisago, Isanti and Mille Lacs counties. The shelter is run by board members and volunteers.
“People were unaware that this place existed here in Pine City,” board member Teresa Hasbrook said.
The shelter houses five women and five men. It has a kitchen, individual bedrooms, bathrooms and laundry facilities. Residents can stay at the shelter for 90 days, and during that time, they work a program. If a person using the shelter does not have a job, he or she must actively be looking for one. Also, the residents must be looking for a place to live and are expected to do household duties while living at the shelter.
“Residents need to be clean and sober to live at the shelter,” Hasbrook said. “Also, they cannot have criminal assault charges within the last five years.”
A Place for You opened in 2012 and has had approximately 1,300 requests for services. The shelter receives a HUD grant and is consistently applying for other grants. They rely on donations and have several fundraisers throughout the year. The shelter purchased a home in Pine City to offer their residents a transition after living at the shelter.
“If residents successfully leave the shelter, and if there’s an opening, they can move into the rental house and pay rent,” Hasbrook said. “They learn to be a good renter and a good neighbor.”
This past winter, the shelter had to turn down 25 requests for use because it simply did not have the room. The average stay at the shelter is 21 days. The most common reason for residents leaving is that they found housing.
One thing that we strive to do is respect the privacy and dignity of our residents,” Hasbrook said. “The reasons for homelessness are the across the board, and it can happen to anybody.”
A Place for You is always looking for volunteers and donations. Its latest fundraising event is a progressive dinner hosted by Rush City area churches April 28 at 5:30 p.m. All proceeds will be donated to the shelter.
Tickets are $13 in advance or $15 at the door.
• Salad — St. John’s Lutheran Church, 980 W. Fourth St.
• Lasagna — First Lutheran Church, 1000 Jay Ave. S.
• Dessert — Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 425 W. Fourth St.
Tickets can be purchased at St. John’s (320-358-3623), First Lutheran (320-358-4076) and Sacred Heart (320-358-4370). It’s best to contact the churches in the mornings.
“The people I work with on the board have such compassion and empathy,” Hasbrook said. “They care about the people, the facility and the mission.”
To donate to A Place for You, go to www.givemn.org.