Elliot Park church opening homeless shelter this fall

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September 24, 2012 // UPDATED 9:14 pm - January 1, 2013
By: Jeremy Zoss Sarah McKenzie & Dylan Thomas
Jeremy Zoss Sarah McKenzie & Dylan Thomas

ELLIOT PARK — First Covenant Church is opening a homeless shelter Oct. 1 in response to the growing need for beds in the downtown area.

The church at 810 S. 7th St. will have 50 beds for men and women 18 and older, said Dan Collison, senior pastor at First Covenant.

There was a surge in the homeless population this summer as many people experiencing homeless gravitated toward the OccupyMN movement at Peavey Plaza. When the Minneapolis Police Department closed the area for cleaning and maintenance in mid-July in preparation for the planned renovations for the plaza, community leaders started exploring ways to find shelter for the homeless who had been camping there.

First Covenant was a logical choice as the church has opened a temporary shelter the past couple of winters for the homeless.

“We are a community of faith trying to listen to the rhythms of the city and step up to help,” Collison said, adding the shelter will be temporary but likely up and running for a couple of years.

First Covenant Church is part of the Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness group — a network of 16 downtown-area houses of worship working to fight homelessness and poverty.

The church’s shelter will be open seven days a week — from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. First Covenant will also be providing meals for the shelter guests and is seeking volunteers to help. Those interested should contact the church’s shelter volunteer coordinator Jessica Kasper at shelter@1stcov.org or 927-3125.

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