Staying awake to death

“I feel safe here”, perhaps the greatest compliment to any shelter provider. Where do you feel safe closing your eyes and falling asleep?

After one week of operating the largest project in Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan’s Minnesota Winter Homeless Initiative, the two churches who opened their doors, Elim Church, and their next door neighbor, Strong Tower Parish in northeast Minneapolis, have sheltered one chihuahua, 14 pairs of people (including 12 couples, 2 brothers and a brother and sister, all who can sleep next to each other), 47 unduplicated men and 29 women. Born in Brainerd. Born in Pipestone. Went to school down the block at Edison.

As Minnesotans spend the legislative session deciding if its a priority to fund emergency shelter, emergency services and homes, they shouldn’t think it’s only necessary to prevent people from freezing to death.

How well do you function with poor sleep? How about with days or weeks or months of it? Humans don’t just need a safe place to close their eyes at a certain temperature.

What is it like in the midnight hour in the basement of a church? Silence. A cough. Snoring. Tooting. An arm flung over a loved one. Peace. There is no more professionally gratifying sight for a shelter advocate.

Funded by the Schulze Foundation until May, we could use blankets, meals, prayers, compassion. http://www.elimstrongtowershelters.org
Photo taken with permission.

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