Emergency Shelter

 In Pastor Jeff's Blog

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ – Matthew 25:40

Homelessness is a significant problem in Dakota County. At last count there were 350 families, single people and young parents among the county’s homeless. School counselors that I’ve spoken with assure me that there are many, many more students who are either “couch surfing” or living in cars throughout the school year.

Emergency shelter services are few and far between in Dakota County. The recent polar vortex, sending overnight temperatures down to -30, has made this a life-threatening crisis. Efforts to establish permanent emergency shelter have run into many obstacles, including NIMBY (“Not in my backyard”).

Matrix Housing Services (http://www.matrixhousingservices.org/) has been working to create emergency shelter by working with local churches and volunteer groups. Together they have been able to provide both food and shelter for up to 50 adults each evening this winter. Recently we were contacted about filling a gap in their schedule. Thanks to the willingness of our staff to be flexible and the support of our local Fire Marshall, Prince of Peace will be the Matrix Housing site from February 9 through the end of March.

Because we are under construction and have less usable space than normal this arrangement will, no doubt, create some challenges. But we believe that the Body of Christ is at our best when we work together under the Spirit’s guidance to overcome challenges for the sake of God’s mission. As the passage above from Matthew says, by serving our neighbor we believe that we are serving our Lord.

If you’d like information about volunteering as a shelter aide, or to help provide a meal, please visit http://www.matrixhousingservices.org/volunteer. And please pray for the safety of those who are without a roof on these cold winter days.

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN

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  • Pat

    I’m in.

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