Homelessness in Fargo-Moorhead
Homelessness is a serious concern in the Fargo-Moorhead community. According to the Wilder Survey, 591 people experiencing homelessness were identified in October 2015 compared to 874 people in October 2012; while this shows a decrease, much of this was from people found outside of the shelter system, as it is difficult to locate people experiencing homelessness when they are not staying at a local shelter (Wilder Research, 2015).
Therefore, 591 people is considered a minimum number. The study also showed that 75% of homeless adults suffered from a serious health condition, including: mental and physical health problems, substance abuse disorder, or evidence of a traumatic brain injury.
In addition, over one-third of homeless adults were considered chronically homeless which means they have been homeless for a year or more or four times in the past three years and have a disabling condition; consequently, factors that characterize those who have been chronically homeless often include previous abuse, chronic health issues, criminal convictions, chronic substance use, violence, and broken relationships.
Similar to past studies, men make up the majority of the homeless population, and people of color are disproportionately represented. These statistics are aligned with what we see at the emergency shelter, and our goal is to provide basic needs, connection to resources, and support to help people attain permanent housing.
Ultimately, our strategic plan is aligned with local plans, addressing how to efficiently and effectively utilize resources, train and develop staff to enhance relationships with those we serve, and build networks with community providers to bridge gaps in services.
The emergency shelter has the capacity to house 13 men who are homeless; we are unique because we operate out of a house and strive to provide a home-like environment for the people we serve. We provide basic needs, visitor support services, case management, resource connection, and ongoing support when people move into housing.
Upon check-in, each guest completes an intake assessment, where basic demographic information is collected. Next, guests meet with our case manager during their first two weeks to determine what their needs are and outline goals for their stay, including a plan for housing.
Finally, we track what services we provide people to help them achieve their goals. Housing and self-sufficiency are the ultimate goals; however, we value the incremental outcomes along the way that lead to stabilization and improved quality of life.
In 2017, we helped 30 men move into homes of their own! In addition, we provided 4,073 showers, laundry, and support services to 560 people.
Collaboration is critical to addressing homelessness; our partners include: the Fargo-Moorhead Coalition for Homeless Persons, Continuum of Care, housing and other service providers, city planning, and community stakeholders.
Specifically related to homeless services, the Fargo-Moorhead community has been implementing coordinated assessment, referral, and evaluation system (CARES), and we are using the assessment tool, called the VI-SPDAT, to determine acuity (vulnerability) for housing placement.
Coordinated assessment has fostered collaboration across many areas of homeless services, including: shelters, housing authorities, community action agencies, veterans affairs, social services, mental health facilities, and hospitals.
As a community, we are getting people into housing quicker, starting to see patterns emerge, and beginning to identify types of housing needs (i.e. transitional housing, rapid re-housing, and permanent supportive housing) based on assessment scores. This information and data evaluation will help inform future affordable housing decisions in our community.
What is more, CARES allows us to provide services more efficiently and effectively as a community which will be a huge cost savings in terms of resources and emergency services used. Together with our community partners, we have been working on transformative and collaborative community efforts to end homelessness.
714 8th Street South, Moorhead, MN 56560
Phone: (218) 233-5763
Hours of Operation
We are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Visitor services are available Monday – Friday (all services)
Saturday – Sunday (shower only – no laundry) from 10am – 5pm
These services include: showers, laundry, and support services.
Our emergency shelter is for men only; however, men, women, and children who are experiencing homelessness can use our visitor services.
Seeking Shelter: Call any of the local shelters; you will be asked a series of questions and placed on a community waiting list. You will be contacted when a shelter bed opens up at one of the local shelters.
Visitor Services: No appointment necessary; walk-ins welcome.
Since the Dorothy Day House of Hospitality opened its doors in 1983, hungry people have come to the house for meals and food. Because of the residential location of the house and number of people being served, a separate operation was needed for the food pantry.