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Shelters in Minot adapt to the new normal amid COVID-19

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 3:46 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. – Although it’s been months since the beginning of the pandemic, organizations in Minot are still adapting to the current health guidelines.

That includes two area organizations—the Minot YWCA and the Minot Men's Winter Refuge.

At the beginning of the pandemic, many organizations were forced to rapidly change their ways to adapt to the new guidelines. Minot's YWCA had to change quickly.

"We are following all of HUD's standards as well as the World's Health Organization standards that were put out back in March or April and basically those guidelines state that we should have individuals in the individual room with an individual bathroom," said Meghan von Behren, YWCA Minot Executive Director.

Those in need were not able to stay at the shelter due the lack of social distancing.

“We decided for the safety of our staff and those we serve that we would transition to hotel vouchers. We have successfully been doing that since oh gosh April, March, April, sometime like that,” said von Behren.

While the YWCA has had months to adapt, Minot's Men's Winter Refuge faces a new set of challenges as the winter season approaches.

“There are definitely some precautions that we will have to take. Some rules that will have to be put in place for COVID. All the residents and volunteers and staff that will be here will have to wear a mask at all times,” said Mike Zimmer, Minot Men’s Winter Refuge Executive Director.

The refuge will require clients to wear masks and have their own sets of house-ware. The staff will also limit the number of beds they fill each night.

"We are going to operate at less than our full capacity this winter, just for distancing purposes. The over-flow we will use hotel rooms for those guys," said Zimmer.

Zimmer said the refuge has made the necessary changes and would never turn away those in need.

He said the shelter can always use more donations of masks, hand sanitizer, and other cleaning supplies.

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