Grand Forks homeless shelter has a waiting list for the first time in 70 yearsGrand Forks, ND (WDAY TV) -- A homeless shelter in Grand Forks is seeing more people than ever before. Despite census reports saying the poverty rate is no longer on the rise. Northlands Rescue Mission has a waiting list for the first time in 70 years, forced to turn some people away.
By: Lezlie Johnson, WDAZ, WDAY
Grand Forks, ND (WDAY TV) -- A homeless shelter in Grand Forks is seeing more people than ever before. Despite census reports saying the poverty rate is no longer on the rise. Northlands Rescue Mission has a waiting list for the first time in 70 years, forced to turn some people away.
James Rettke came to North Dakota to find a job.
James: "I have 5 years experience in the oil fields and me and my buddy talked about going to Williston but then we heard there's nowhere to live."
Struggling to find a steady income, Rettke ended up at Northlands Rescue Mission in Grand Forks.
James: "They got me glasses, food in my belly and a warm place to sleep at night and that all means something."
Rettke is not alone....the shelter is at capacity with nearly 130 residents.
Richard: "Because of the economic problems we have in the country and people looking for work."
This area used to be a conference room, but is now home to more than 10 people because the facility is full.
Dave: "Here in probably the last 3 or 4 months we've actually been averaging over 1-hundred-20 people a night and over the past 6 weeks actually ended up having a waiting list."
According to recent U.S. Census Bureau figures the poverty rate in the country has leveled off, but there are still 46.2 million people who remain below the poverty line. Northlands has seen a 12-percent increase in people needing help over the past year.
Dave: "They're hearing about N.D., oil jobs, low unemployment, surplus in the budget."
The non-profit organization is hoping more people will donate money so it can keep up with the rising number of people needing shelter in the area.
Richard: "I think it's very important for people that struggle with economic problems. I think places like this are good to get them back on their feet."
For more information, or if you would like to donate log onto northlandsrescuemission.org