Please join us for the 13th Annual “One Night without a Home” walk on, Wednesday, November 16th, 2016, in observation of National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week (November 13-19). Participants will gather at Grace House at 3:30 p.m. and walk to Old Central School and return to the shelter for an old-fashioned soup line. The walk will raise awareness of the issues of hunger and homelessness in our community and nationwide.
All are welcome to join us in our annual Veterans’ Ride for The Homeless. Proceeds will be donated to Grace House, Itasca County’s one and only homeless shelter. All riders are welcome to join, regardless of veteran status.
The Veterans’ Ride for The Homeless will take place on Sunday, July 31st at 11:00 am. We will be gathering at the Vets Club in Deer River, MN and the ride will start at Noon. The ride will end at Triple L Bar in Bovey, MN. Stick around after for lunch and an opportunity to enjoy conversation with new friends. The cost of entry is just $20.00 per rider.
The Veterans’ Ride for The Homeless is proudly sponsored in part by:
Deer River Vets Club
Lawrence Lake Liquor
American Legion Riders Chapter #1 Post 122 of Deer River MN
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” This quote by cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead is reminiscent of Grace House’s dedicated volunteer corps — now more than 160 members strong!
Through compassion and conversation, our volunteers make a world of difference in the lives of the men, women and children who stay at Grace House. Whether it’s sharing a cup of coffee or a home-cooked meal, our volunteers help each guest feel safe, welcomed and valued. In short, they are the heart and soul of Grace House.
The issue of homelessness has united our community like never before, and demonstrated the importance of civic involvement. New volunteers continue to flock to Grace House, eagerly supporting Itasca County’s only homeless shelter.
April is National Volunteer Month. Over the next four weeks, thousands of volunteers across the country will be honored for their service. Locally, our volunteers will be recognized for their incredible contributions to Grace House during the Saturday, April 9th, 2016 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon.
We invite all volunteers to attend this celebration of service, which will be held at Grace House from 11:00 to 2:00 p.m. The luncheon includes delicious home-cooking, musical entertainment, awards and volunteer appreciation gifts. Please RSVP your attendance by calling Grace House at (218) 326-2790 or emailing Jess Mohn, Volunteer Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org, it would be nearly impossible to highlight the efforts of one single volunteer. Grace House volunteers make our guests feel comfortable and safe at the shelter; just like they would for a treasured family member. The compassion and constant care of our volunteers is what sets Grace House apart from other homeless shelters in the state.
In addition, our volunteer corps comprises 50% percent of our workforce! Without the assistance of more than 160 volunteers, Grace House would need to hire 4.5 additional staff members to keep the shelter running as seamlessly as it has for the past eight years.
On behalf of Grace House’s board, staff and guests, we thank all of our amazing volunteers for taking time out of their busy schedules to make our guests feel right at home.
In 2015, Grace House provided emergency shelter to 160 adults and children. Sadly, we also had to turn away more than 179 people last year, mainly because there were no beds available at Itasca County’s only homeless shelter.
Never is shelter more critical to survival than during the winter months in northern Minnesota. No one should have to go without shelter, especially when it’s cold. Thanks to the partnership of area churches in our Winter Overflow Sheltering Plan (WOSP), many individuals and families without homes of their own will receive life-saving overnight accommodations this winter when Grace House is full.
The 2015-2016 WOSP cycle is now underway and will continue until April 30th, 2016. Eight local churches are taking turns serving as emergency overflow shelters when Grace House reaches maximum capacity. Additional guests are transported to host facilities in the evenings where they are provided with safe, warm shelter by hospitable church volunteers. In the mornings, they return to Grace House where they have access to showers, meals, laundry facilities and case management services.
Through WOSP, Grace House is able to provide emergency shelter for up to 20 guests each night. This new program doubles our capacity to help meet the growing demand for emergency shelter in our community.
We are still looking for volunteers to help cover overnight shifts both at Grace House and WOSP host facilities this winter and spring. Please consider volunteering at Grace House or one of the participating WOSP churches this winter.
Grace House provides a Volunteer Orientation & Training session on the second Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m. The brief orientation will prepare you to make a big difference in the lives of the people we serve.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude for the support and compassion of all our Grace House volunteers and our WOSP partners. They include: St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Community Presbyterian Church, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Solid Rock Church of God, United Methodist Church, Grand Rapids Alliance/New Song Alliance Church and Zion Lutheran.
Thank you for opening your hearts and doors to our guests as they transition from homelessness to stable housing and employment! You make our community a great place to live!
Since early 2013 Grace House and other members of the Itasca County Housing Institute Team have worked in concert to address our community’s housing needs. This collaborative effort resulted in a major victory for housing equity in Grand Rapids. On October 23, 2014 the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) approved the Housing Institute’s $8.6 million affordable housing project. Financed primarily through tax credits made available through state-appropriated housing bonds, this new development will supply new rental options to low-income families and individuals who are experiencing housing instability.
Named Beacon Hill, this project features 28 two- and three-bedroom town homes and 20 apartments for adults who are physically disabled and those who are transitioning out of homelessness. Beacon Hill includes attractive amenities such as a community center, a children’s playground and plenty of green space. Nestled on more than eight acres, Beacon Hill will be situated behind Red Willow on 21st Street SE (just a few blocks east of Target). Construction is slated for June 2015 with an anticipated completion date of August 2016.
Beacon Hill will help address the severe shortage of affordable housing in Grand Rapids by providing an income-based alternative for folks who live and work in our community. Currently only 1.4% of rental housing in Grand Rapids is vacant, and just 0.3% of subsidized and affordable housing is available for occupancy. Scarcity of affordable housing is the single largest contributor to homelessness in Itasca County.
The Itasca County Housing Institute Team is comprised of the following organizations: Grace House, Northland Counseling Center, Itasca County Housing & Redevelopment Authority, MN Department of Corrections, Itasca County Health & Human Services, KOOTASCA Community Action and Itasca County Probation.
We are proud to be part of a team committed to preventing and reducing homelessness in Itasca County!
As part of our mission to reduce homelessness in Itasca County, Grace House is eager to share the findings of the 2014 Grand Rapids Comprehensive Housing Marketing Analysis. Conducted by Maxfield Research, the housing study reveals a severe shortage of affordable housing in Grand Rapids that is projected to continue into the next decade.
Currently only 1.4% of rental units in Grand Rapids are vacant and available for rent. Most healthy communities maintain a 5-7% rental vacancy rate. The pent-up demand for affordable rentals makes housing stability challenging for individuals and low-income families who are not in a position to buy a home.
Subsidized and affordable rental housing in our community is especially scarce, with a vacancy rate of just 0.3%. The study identifies more than half of Grand Rapids renters as “cost burdened” because more than 30% of their gross income is spent on housing. A greater percentage of Grand Rapids residents are cost burdened than in those in the Twin Cities/Metro Area and in the state of Minnesota overall.
Housing study authors recommend the creation of additional rental housing to meet the current and projected future demand in Grand Rapids. In particular, the study recommends attention paid to the housing needs of low-income households, seniors, and people with disabilities.
Each year Grace House provides temporary shelter for more than 200 individuals and families who have no homes of their own. The housing study findings will help guide us as we seek to address the root causes of homelessness in Itasca County so that stable, affordable housing can become a reality for all members of our community.
This 2014 Grand Rapids Comprehensive Housing Marketing Analysis. was made possible with support from Blandin Foundation, Northland Foundation, Minnesota Housing Partnership, the City of Grand Rapids, and the members of the Itasca County Housing Institute.