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#70 All Night Coffee House Offers Welcome and Employment Opportunity

Provision of Second-chance Employment opportunities
Homelessness, Addiction, and Incarceration (lessens the chance of recidivism)

The Situation

On February 2, 2020, at 2:00 a.m, the temperature in Bismarck was -4F. The people who were living on the streets could seek momentary refuge in Walmart, Perkins, Denny’s, or one of several 24-hour grocery stores. They could use the bathroom facilities at one of the many 24-hour gas stations and possibly get a cup of coffee.
On February 2, 2022, at 2:00 a.m. the Bismarck temperature was once again -4F. However, due to the COVID pandemic and changing workforce, Walmart, Perkins Denny’s and grocery stores are no longer open 24 hours. Gas stations that are not directly on the interstate are closed and people simply “pay at the pump”. The homeless are abandoned, with nowhere to go, causing security and health problems. Serving the needs and recognizing the dignity of people without shelter during the overnight hours is much more challenging in 2022 than it was two years ago.
The Coffee House is open from 10:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m. It offers safety and rest for the people on the streets. It offers bathroom facilities and a pair of dry socks. Staffed by two people at all times, it offers companionship, access to emergency responders, a bite to eat, and a pillow and a blanket. All people are accepted regardless of intoxication, addiction, or mental health reality. People may come and go at their discretion throughout the night. Since its opening on February 4, 2022, the Coffee House’s attendance is between 35-40 people nightly.

Sisters’ Response

The Sisters know in the heat of summer, or the frigid cold of winter, people on the streets need a place of safety and rest. The Coffee House offers safety and rests to ALL – people can be on drugs or alcohol; they can be struggling with mental health manifestations; they can have any felony or incarceration in their background – they are welcome depending on their behavior in the present moment. We recognize their need and respect their dignity as persons, and welcome them.

Funds Needed


How Will Funds Be Used

Ministry on the Margins staffs the Coffee House with two people at all times. These men and women are second-chance employees who have a resume that includes incarceration or homelessness. They receive special training in de-escalation, motivational interviewing, CPR, First Aid, and the administration of Narcan. Staffing needs for this program are our main expense, but the jobs have also allowed the employees to afford food, housing, and transportation for themselves and provided benefits for their growing independence.

Systemic Impact

Addiction – this keeps people from being accepted into high-barrier shelters. Incarceration – a felony record excludes people from current sheltering.

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