Launch Pad Program Up & Running
After lots of unforeseen delays, COVID-19, etc., Launch Pad is up and running as of the end of June and had both units filled within the week of opening.
West Central Minnesota Communities Action (WCMCA) provides services in five counties with our homeless and housing programs including Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens and Traverse. There is not a homeless shelter within any of the counties and the nearest shelters are located in Moorhead and St. Cloud. Just because we do not have a shelter in our area and don’t see people sleeping in homeless communities outdoors does not mean that there isn’t a homeless issue in our community. Homelessness in our community looks like people living in their vehicles, in fish houses, staying on the couch of a friend or family member or staying in a hotel with a voucher paid by a local agency. Many of us are one lost paycheck away from the possibility of becoming homeless. Currently, WCMCA only has one program in place to assist with an average of a two night hotel voucher which we know does not solve the problem for most.
Together with a breakout group created at the United Way Community Impact Coalition three years ago, the idea of Launch Pad was created as housing was identified as a major issue in Douglas County. Launch Pad is a temporary, safe home for households to stay while they pick up and put the pieces of their life back together after life knocks them down. Launch Pad was recently built by the Alexandria Housing & Redevelopment Authority (HRA) and ICW work crew. Although there is not a set amount of time that households are able to stay, they are required to meet with a case manager daily and work diligently towards completing goals of locating employment, completing housing searches, finding daycare and saving money to put towards their next rental.
These units are fully furnished including washers and dryers thanks to generous donations of community members and partner organizations. Some meals will be provided by generous donations of the Feed My Sheep group at First Lutheran Church. There is also no cost to the households staying there as donations and grants will fund the rent and utilities. Our agency hopes to put as few barriers in place for those utilizing this program because EVERYONE deserves a place of their own to call home. It is a proven fact that those with safe, stable housing are more successful in school, work and in their day to day life. Mental health improves, sobriety is maintained and personal relationships are maintained.
If you would like more information regarding homelessness in our area, Launch Pad, services offered by WCMCA or to make a donation, please contact Heather Molesworth, Family and Community Services Director or Amber Holmstrom, Family and Community Services Housing Coordinator at 320-304-3458.