Dakota County Crisis Shelter – guest stories

friendship-bed24 stable hours. Nothing remarkable to report. People getting rest, getting help, getting their bearings at Prince of Peace in Burnsville. Though Apple Valley Police Dept donated 24 hour coverage, no police presence in Burnsville, no need in the opinion of many, some cops included. We were visited by Officer Sean from Burnsville PD, a friendly gentleman who sat as people ate. 2 gentlemen started, “Let me tell you a story about the police…” I hung my head. Oh no. Then they continued, “the 2 of us were sleeping in our car in a lot with the business’ permission. All of a sudden, 3 squads surrounded us. You know what they did? (I cringe) They bought us 5 days worth of groceries at Holiday-and good stuff not junk.”

At $65 an hour, one hour of police time, if we had the money, could nearly buy a month’s pass on Metro Transit, perhaps the next shelter plan when we close. I haven’t told them yet, I suppose I’m still waiting for a committee decision or a Christmas miracle. They won’t have to move for 2 more days. Relief. Then one more stop at Spirit of Life Presbyterian in Apple Valley. Pastor Rob Smith said to expect a nice supper. I expect it will be there last. When does the scale tip from providing the shelter guests peace and providing them time to think of where they will sleep next? As someone said when I naively asked if there was any, any alternative to this, “Do you think I would be talking to you right now if there was?”

Guests have left notes, stating, “put this in the newspaper, say this on TV”. I thought I would share a couple:

How the homeless shelter within Dakota County is needed and beneficial

I’m a 68 year old single man, not the oldest here, who has lived in Dakota County the past 15+ years. I am a quiet person. In the first part of November, 2016, I became deeply depressed, resulting in a hospitalization at St. Joe’s locked psych unit following a suicide gesture. Following the hospitalization, I resided at the Maureen Henney Guest House in South St. Paul for 10 days. Since leaving Maureen House, I’ve been homeless the past 2-3 weeks or so, sleeping in my car or staying with friends for a night. My Dakota County caseworker called me earlier today, informing me of the emergency shelter available through Grace Lutheran Church in Apple Valley. I’m on the waiting list for the men’s shelter in Hastings. I don’t know how long I’ll wait. I have Social Security income from my work history, $1357 a month and a 401k fund. I probably have an apartment to move into on January 10, 2017 but I have no where to stay until then. The apartment will cost about $520 a month. I’ve been retired 5 years and have a Master’s degree in Management Information Systems. My significant other of 13 years and I broke up and I no longer live at the condo I lived at for 11 years. We continue to have a friendship. She was out of town at the time of my deep depression and suicide gesture. The emergency shelter is an alternative to living in my car. I’m willing to exchange work in my field for the opportunity to stay.

To Minnesota nice from a child of God

I guess I don’t know exactly where to start except for the fact they are trying to make the public aware of homelessness right here in Dakota County. I saw some reporters here but didn’t get a chance to talk to them. They said people think it’s all downtown Minneapolis and St Paul. I am here to tell you it is happening right here, right now, in Dakota County when it was -20. I am one who is being cared for and sheltered by the churches of Dakota County right now, exactly when the need was the greatest according to the weather conditions! The church we started out in Apple Valley, Grace Lutheran, you know what? I was confirmed there in 1971. I grew up about 2 miles from there, County Road 42 and Cedar. The church we are in now, Prince of Peace, is a place I have volunteered at over the years, working in the food shelf. Maybe there is something to that old saying, “what goes around, comes around”. Minnesota nice, huh! I have personally seen for myself, the most beautiful outpouring of God’s love over the past 5 days that I have ever witnessed in my life!!!

Signed, an Angel of God

p.s. Jesus was here

2 thoughts on “Dakota County Crisis Shelter – guest stories

  1. Every time I pass the Padeia School with the “For Lease” sign, I think of the possibilities for that building. A shelter from the cold, a place for hot meals, a clothes closet, a food shelf, an after/before school program . . . so many possibilities. Would it be possible for the county and area churches to form a partnership to make something like that happen? The need is certainly there, but where does one begin?


  2. I helped out at Prince of Peace last night and the people I met who were in need of food and a place to sleep were some of the nicest, politest, and talkative people I have met. Even the baby I held was a good one to hold. We all need to remember that circumstances change and but for the grace of God we could find ourselves in an instant in their shoes.


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