More than 30 unsheltered individuals counted during Point in Time Count

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 4:50 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2023 at 10:39 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Arctic air is expected to freeze up the BisMan area later tonight. As people head indoors, there are many in our community who go unsheltered at night.

Most people who drive around Bismarck after midnight are headed home. But Kacey Peterson, a social worker for Ministry on the Margins is looking for people who have no home to go to.

“Really eye-opening to see and encounter individuals on the street. Whether it was behind a motel or kind of nestled between two brick walls,” said Raquel Doll, social worker at Ministry on the Margins.

As I rode along, I felt like we were wandering aimlessly. However, roaming in the comfort of a warm car is different than those who have no choice but to walk out in the cold.

On Wednesday evening, a group conducted surveys for the Point in Time Count. From 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., they combed the streets of Bismarck to try and find unsheltered individuals.

“We actually encountered one individual who was living out of their vehicle and had a few different pets with them and didn’t have a place to go for shelter,” said Renae Moch, director of Bismarck Burleigh Public Health.

We looked for clues just as a detective might. Such as following footprints left in the snow. Homelessness in the state is not as easy to spot as in big cities. Individuals experiencing homelessness in North Dakota can hide in plain sight.

“That more hidden, where they look like an everyday person but really at night it’s not the case,” said Kacey Peterson, a social worker at Ministry on the Margins.

The count not only makes the ND Homeless Continuum of Care aware of how many people are without shelter, but they receive federal funding as well.

“To help us kind of dictate what kind of resources we are getting,” said Peterson.

Another main point of the survey is to help individuals without shelter become familiar with resources in the community, such as Ministry on the Margins.

“Whether it’s a time in their life that they’re ready to change or not, they always kind of have us in the back of their mind,” said Doll.

On Wednesday evening, more than 30 unsheltered people were counted.

The survey is conducted annually on the last Wednesday in January.