- Associated Press - Thursday, December 14, 2017

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Bismarck is exploring funding options to address the area’s homeless crisis after the only men’s shelter in the city closed several months ago.

The Bismarck City Commission directed its budget committee to determine the amount of money needed to secure a shelter for Bismarck-Mandan’s homeless population.

“I think it would be appropriate for the budget committee to look at somewhere in the range of $5,000 to $10,000 that we might offer as support going forward,” Commissioner Josh Askvig said.

City officials are asking for help from the private sector and faith-based communities, the Bismarck Tribune reported .

“We need private sector help,” said Mayor Mike Seminary. “Help us with a building so we can make sure nobody’s dying while we’re trying to figure out what the long-term solution is going to be.”

The Ruth Meiers Hospitality House closed its men’s emergency shelter in Bismarck on Oct. 27.

The United Way has been filling the area’s emergency housing gap since then. Agency officials say it will cost more than $260,000 to manage emergency housing needs through June 2018. They have raised $105,000 to date.

The United Way has worked with Bismarck city staff to review 20 locations for a temporary shelter, but they haven’t identified the best location.

Many commissioners have called for a plan before diverting funds to the shelter.

“We, as a community, have to decide what it is we want to provide, and we have to decide how much involvement we want city government to have,” said Commissioner Nancy Guy. “We can’t solve this problem by just writing a great big fat check.”

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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