Thanks to the Pioneer Press for covering the good news at the shelter…
Monica Nilsson was in good spirits Thursday night while her guests were unwinding before bed.
Nilsson, who has been running a traveling cold-weather crisis shelter at four Dakota County churches for more than a month, had just gotten the good news that she and others were hoping for: Money was donated that will keep the operation running another week.
The shelter opened Dec. 15 at Grace Lutheran Church in Apple Valley and was set to close Friday at Easter Lutheran Church in Eagan. On Thursday, several Dakota County churches donated about $9,000 to keep it open until Jan. 27, Nilsson said.
Their story helps shine a light on suburban homeless and public awareness if half the battle; the other half is making shelter a priority in the county…
In Dakota County, the long-term goal is to have a permanent shelter for single men and women up and running by 2018 or sooner, Nilsson said.
Kastler said the county will be at the table with the faith community “to think through financing options both for the actual purchase of a building, for any renovation that is needed and for ongoing services.”
“It’s not something we have in the budget, but it’s something we as county staff feel is important,” she said. “We want to see this service extended in Dakota County.”
Nilsson said she has been encouraged by recent visits to the shelter by elected officials, including county commissioners Tom Egan and Mike Slavik; State Sen. Jim Carlson; State Rep. Erin Maye Quade; and Eagan City Council members Meg Tilley and Gary Hansen.
“When I talk with interested people I want them to have both a sense of urgency that people need help now, but also a sense of hope that people’s conditions change with connections to other people, to health care, to housing,” Nilsson said. “So the question will be: Are we going to leave things like this, or help people?”