"Welcome House has made a huge difference in our lives, being able to sit and visit with someone who not only want to help you but someone who gives a listening ear which is very important to someone who feels like giving up on everything. I cannot express my appreciation to the Welcome House, who has shown me and my family the utmost respect and generosity that my family have received. I am much honored to work with Welcome House. There aren't any negative issues that I can think of that would pertain to Welcome House. I thank God for sending me these wonderful people into my family's life."

""Laurie" and her twelve-year old daughter "Tara" moved into our shelter this past summer. Laurie is in her early 50's and has older children who are out on their own. For quite some time, she'd been helping those adult children take care of their kids while she raised her youngest child. She had sacrificed so much to help them, including leaving the workforce to take care of her family - but when she broke up with her significant other, she was left homeless with no place for her or Tara to go.

Right from the start, Laurie was helpful around the shelter and eagerly met with her Case Manager to develop a set of goals that had a primary focus on finding employment. Without a car or income for transportation, we provided both Laurie and Tara bus passes for CAT/Bis-Man Transit, a program funded through United Way. Laurie learned the bus route and made sure to plan her days accordingly so she'd have adequate travel time.

Laurie tried very hard to remain on good terms with her ex-husband, Tara's dad, even though he was so far behind on child support she knew her income alone would have to be enough to provide for them. In a last-ditch effort to mend her relationship with her recent ex-boyfriend, Laurie requested (and received) permission for "Richard" to stay at Welcome House as he had just been evicted from his apartment. Unfortunately, this only lasted a few days and Laurie was left alone - and broke because Richard left after he had stolen several hundred dollars that she had saved from doing day-labor. Hurt and confused, Laurie stopped doing day labor and tried even harder to find full-time employment. Tara’s Case Manager helped her re-vamp her resume and our whole Welcome House team rallied around her to provide encouragement and job leads!

After a longer stay than she’d hoped, this single mom and her daughter moved out just days after Tara's thirteenth birthday in September. It was not an easy journey, but by the time she left Welcome House, Laurie had truly blossomed into an independent single mom who will continue to succeed and improve her life situation."

"“Sue" and her two-year old daughter faced allot of obstacles last year. After a bad break-up, Sue found herself homeless and unemployed; she is unable to work because of a multitude of serious medical conditions. Sue and her daughter had been asked to leave another shelter because they had come to the end of their allowable stay …Sue’s many special needs meant that she had not been able to accomplish her program goals quickly enough for them to extend her stay. Sue and her child had stayed with her uncle for a week or so, but it was not a good situation for them.

Since moving into our shelter, our case manager has worked closely with her case manager at Community Action and her representatives at West Central. It took several months for her housing assistance voucher to arrive. When it did, Sue began searching for an affordable home right away. In addition to tackling her medical appointments to manage her health conditions, Sue searched for apartments in her approved price range.

After a multi-year struggle to get approved for disability, those efforts saw success as well. A month before her housing voucher was received, Sue was finally approved for a handicap parking pass which is a huge help to her! Sue created a goal plan for the whole year and worked with her case manager to break things down into weekly tasks. With so many health obstacles, Sue still goes out of her way to help other residents here at Welcome House – such as providing encouragement and helping a single dad by providing childcare to his two children while he worked at his new job.

Because of state and HUD funding, we were able to fund Sue’s deposit payment on her rented home and she covered the rent. Because of generous community support, we sent Sue and her daughter into their home with groceries, hygiene items, blankets and some household items. It’s been almost a year since Sue moved out of our shelter and we’re very proud of how far she's come. She still lives in the same home and her little girl is as happy and active as ever!"

""Sam," his wife "Shannon" and their four children came to ND in late August so Sam could go to school at United Tribes Technical College. They had no family here for support and no housing or income lined up, but moved into our shelter and quickly networked with several support systems. The very first day in our shelter, Sam submitted the housing assistance application for his family of six. Our case manager, connected the children with the Boys and Girls Club program for some great after-school supervision and fun. The homeless school liaison was contacted and Heather helped mom and dad get the children enrolled in school. Without staff assistance, the family contacted their service providers for SNAP and Medicaid and had those transferred to ND.

The family experienced some additional trauma and problems while they were here and those issues were dealt with one at a time. Shannon dealt with lengthy hospital stay and during this time, Sam did an amazing job as a "single dad"....keeping the children clean, well-mannered and he made sure they were at school and any required appointments every day.

Sam had been looking for work as soon as they arrived in the Bismarck-Mandan area. Sam had a couple of interviews that went very well, but he had difficulty finding a good-paying job that would be flexible with his upcoming college schedule. By early October, dad (Sam) decided the family's monthly income through the welfare program and SNAP would be enough to pay for their living needs while he goes to UTTC. Shortly after deciding this, Sam and Shannon's housing voucher came and the search for an apartment began! This was the first housing voucher that we'd seen be approved in under two months so it was a great surprise for them AND our team to see good things happening so quickly! The family immediately began their housing search and found a 3-bedroom rental house in a good location that was within their budget.

We completed the necessary paperwork and housing inspection to provide Sam and Shannon assistance (through our ESG grant) to pay for the majority of their deposit. We referred the family to Aid, Inc. and Community Blessings to help them with furniture and household items. As a usual part of a family moving into their own place, we put together a generous food basket to get them started and sent them with blankets and home-mode children's pillow-cases! Through follow-up case management, we invited Sam to fill out an application to receive a Open Your Heart food basket and Christmas presents though Aid, Inc. and Toys for Tots. When I followed up with Sam in December, he was excited that I'd called him because we had a donation of a large Christmas tree - which he was ever-so-happy to come over and pick it up to bring some Christmas cheer to their new home! In our conversation, I learned that Sam has since found a great paying job and is balancing his work and schooling just fine.

Because of so many generous community partners, case management, and some strong family motivation, we were able to provide just the right amount of touches and support to help this family stabilize and make North Dakota their home."