Tuesday, May 3, 2016

North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People’s Mercy Box Movement spreads statewide

News from NHC's family of members
by Radiah Shabazz, National Housing Conference

The North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People, an NHC member, recently began a partnership with Surprise Church and other community organizations to provide bags of essential care items to people experiencing homelessness. “Mercy Box” drop off sites were set up in six cities across the state to accept donations of unused travel-sized personal care items, socks, first aid supplies, pre-packaged snacks and more.

Boxes were set up in Bismarck, Devils Lake, Dickinson, Fargo, Minot and Jamestown for community members to drop off item throughout the month of April. In addition to the Coalition, churches, health care facilities, local businesses and area nonprofits also participated in the movement. Once items are collected from each box, volunteers will meet on May 15 to sort, stuff and distribute them to community members. Volunteers and community members can then keep some of the bags in their cars and give them away whenever they come across someone who is experiencing homelessness. All other bags are donated to nonprofit service organizations in the community.

“Over 10,000 people across North Dakota are expected to experience homelessness this year alone,” the Coalition’s Director of Communications and Development, Emily Dazell, said in a press release. “The need has never been greater to be able to actively care for people experiencing homelessness.”

NHC advocates for increases in funding for federal programs that are working to end homelessness. In March we signed onto a letter to the Senate advocating for an increase in the 302(b) allocation for housing, including HUD programs that address homelessness. NHC will continue to monitor progress of these efforts.

To learn more about the Mercy Box Movement and the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless people, click here.

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