Shelter for the Night / Nancy Nagler discusses the homeless

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The first part of program presents a rebroadcast of Stephen Smith’s documentary report "Shelter for the Night," which examines the plight of the homeless over a period of 12 hours in the St. Stephen's Emergency Shelter. Following documentary, Nancy Nagler, chair of St. Paul Area Coalition for the Homeless, discusses the homeless problem in Minnesota and what can be done about it. Nagler also answers listener questions.

Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.

(00:00:00) It's about a minute past one 12 o'clock. Now last year at about this time we broadcast a program called shelter for the night based on activities at the st. Stephen's Catholic Church shelter in Minneapolis this year, although the weather is not as cold. The problem of homelessness is still with us. And so it seemed appropriate to offer shelter for the night a second time the documentary produced by reporter Stephen Smith lasts about 25 minutes at its conclusion will give you a chance to join a conversation with Nancy nagler who's in the Studio's today. She is from the st. Paul Coalition for the homeless. So to begin our our on the homeless shelter for the night. 6:50 p.m. A Winter's evening at st. Stephen's emergency shelter in South Minneapolis were in the basement of st. Stephen's Catholic Church rectory a rectangular wood paneled room with a linoleum floor chairs and long tables are scattered about a few of the thin worn mattresses have already been pulled from a closet but most of the guests are drawn around the television down at the far Corner the shelter normally opens at seven o'clock. But tonight the weather is unusually cold below zero already and headed for a frigid 16 below more than half of the homeless men and women who will stay here tonight have already checked in each is guaranteed a bed for 30 days. Whoever else shows up is accommodated on a first-come first-served basis. Doug feder heart is the director of st. Stephen's shelter. The program flask B is one of offering hospitality. Any guest who comes to our doors there are some limitations with that if somebody shows up and they've been drinking they are made real welcome will let him in the door. But then refer them elsewhere usually to detox or tell them, you know, you can do that or fend for yourself, but if a guest has It has no major behavior problems and can be cooperative and get along with the 29 other people downstairs, then they're welcome here. So the philosophy was one of trying to provide safe and warm shelter for anybody on the basis that they have a right as a human being to have that provided for them. 7:15. The room is filling up with the stale Haze of cigarette smoke more mattresses are set up around the room covered by sheets and frayed blankets a bearded woodsy looking man Forks mouthfuls of cold chilly from a can across the room a young man flirts with his girlfriend on the telephone 32 people have shown up needing beds, but the shelter's capacity is 30 (00:02:50) Will it be late? They've brought James Wilkins jr. And Chuck solely sit out there all we want to come over and see him draw cards. We have three one night spots open and we had five people looking for spaces. So you have to draw cards highest (00:03:11) cards are dealt and two young tired men find themselves with the low draw. They regard their luck with blank (00:03:17) expressions. Okay. Well, we'll look for a space for you and we'll try calling the other shelters and that dude just want to hold on just a couple minutes and okay, (00:03:28) st. Stephen's emergency shelter opened in December of 1981 parishioners noticed with alarm the increase in homeless people passing through the neighborhood and suggested a temporary shelter be set up in the basement the ranks of homeless people have swelled since then and the shelter is now a permanent program Doug Federer heart says that guests are usually men and usually in their 20s or 30s some have mental disorders, but many are simply destitute suddenly cast from a more comfortable Life by uncontrollable events. Pretty much what is half and Steve is there's been a collapse in their own support system. They've lost family. They've lost friends a lot of times. They've lost the ambition of the will to try to keep on going in ways. We would say Society expects of people many people have worked. However, you want to Define productive. If you define that in an economic sense. Basically, they have been productive people at some time in their lives, 7:25 the two men who lost the draw follow a staff member into a small office. (00:04:36) Yes, my name is Lori white calf and I'm calling from st. Stephen shelter and I'm calling to find out if you who might have space for two men. Oh, you do? Okay, I'll send him right over there. Okay. Thank you. Bye (00:04:51) 7:40 Willard sits on his mattress watching the others drinking coffee from a styrofoam cup Willard is a 41 year old Native American his face is heavily creased with years of hard living. His hair is long and Tangled. He wears a heavy green wool coat blue jeans and a pair of flimsy rubber boots and from the sisseton-wahpeton Indian reservation and from South Dakota and I've been here just I've been with my cousin with my cousin moved away and I got a I got a cousin in the hospital at the end at the end up in County Medical Center and he's on dialysis and I have relatives but Living in the city here, but this little bit too far for me to walk Willard spent most of the last two months sleeping in cars, but then the Arctic weather came and forced him to the shelter Willard speaks of the poverty. He lives in with a quiet matter of fact dignified tone. I'm a Vietnam veteran. And I have an income. Well, it's not enough to really survive on but right now is the way things are I've been doing art work and daily labor with the AAA and PCI and I work temporary, you know, it's enough to get by on when Willard's cousin is released from the hospital. The two will go home to South Dakota Willard will leave with mixed feelings about the Emergency Shelters in Minneapolis. St. Stephen's is fine. He says but some others discriminate against Native Americans Willard wishes that a shelter just for Indians would be opened at the little Earth housing project in Minneapolis. We ourselves more to protect each other help each other and we look out for each other and we feel out of place. with the non-indian world and not a word about discriminating or whatever what we just like rather be with our own people and everything is working in harmony. 810 the kitchen. What are you what are you serving today tonight? It's peanut butter and jelly sandwiches some (00:07:00) crackers. Yes, and let looks like about it. Are we putting carrots all are you going to put them on the stove first heat them up a little bit. Are they warm enough to serve those and Fishes sent over some leftover carrots. So we'll put those out if they want to help themselves to those. (00:07:24) What's the big tank of red stuff? (00:07:27) so like a cherry (00:07:28) Kool-Aid (00:07:31) snacks are at a premium around here unless people come down and bring them in and on a volunteer basis and that whatever they happen to (00:07:41) have that we put together. (00:07:45) A lot of times it's the same things over and (00:07:47) over but I imagine on a night like tonight anything like this is warmly welcomed. (00:07:53) I would assume always. (00:07:58) It's 8:30 and John is sitting on a table in the corner of the main room slouched against the wall. He's 28 good-looking with dark hair a trim build and two weeks worth of beard. John doesn't want his last name broadcast on the radio and he asked me for credentials to prove that I wasn't a welfare fraud investigator. John says he was recently cut off general assistance and I didn't really look for any place to live expected to find a job and work my way up. I still have applications out there just been looking for work. I'm not in GA anymore. That's all were you in the work Readiness program? Yeah. I was in it for a while. It could have gone on. I think I scheduled to go out to Anoka but then I realized I wasn't interested in going out to Anoka I still as far as I'm concerned if somebody doesn't want to drink he just doesn't go to a liquor store. That's all. What do you say to people who say that you know someone in your position is just is just lazy. Oh for myself my personal opinion. I'll admit openly to that. I am lazy. Are those who are hard luck cases or need a directive in life you see and maybe this is what they really need more than anything else. I'll quit again. You know, everybody has to look know what they're looking for enough. You know. Well GA is GA now the it's a run around and I got tired of running around and I got tired of my day being tied up by talking nonsense with somebody that was talking nonsense to me. I could sit down there talk nonsense to myself any place. But as far as people go they everybody should try make up their mind what they really want and what they want to do then then go about it. What do you do between the hours of the shelter is open? Oh, I've been up pounding pavement or sit around drinking coffee or not. I walk into a temporary area and if they look my way I might get up at leave or I might question about a job, but I'm very I'm being cautious about looking for a job. What I want to do. How long when a wife what kind of job do you want to get all it doesn't make a difference. I'm not looking for anything roof. Just keep occupied make some money and you know make make ends meet if I I'm looking for the set goal for myself, you know, just a simple life a simple way Abed simple room with coffee pot things like that. So, you know, it's enjoy the sights of Minneapolis. There's a lot of quiet places walk around things like that a large book selection at the library newspapers Etc. We don't have to occasionally I you know, it takes up to time depends. What's about so it doesn't make a difference Uptown library has a Playboy on on file you get edit. Then you course the main library has newspapers from throughout the country. So it gives you idea, you know, Hometown towns. You've been at things like that and just watching people downtown sometimes. 9:05 Tom has volunteered to do laundry because his own clothes need washing Tom is 33 short and slight is faces pockmarked and his wide black eyes flick nervously around the room. Tom does the laundry in small loads, even though the washer is the large commercial type he forgets to use detergent and can't quite decipher the instructions for the machine. I have a place at the present time, but I can't live there at the present time because where I am at this particular person has psychological problems, and I don't know why he pinpointed me. I got an idea wipe in front of me. I've never did no personal harm to him, but he I feel uncomfortable in his where I'm at. And I feel made my life is threatened. That's why I left the place but then I came here because I had no other alternative know the option I decided to move here and thank God that I'm here for the time being and after a month. I plan on I'm eligible for welfare still because I have a disability and so I plan on getting a place and then continue in school and hopefully after my training is finished getting employment Tom doesn't like living in the shelter mostly because there's no privacy when you live this kind of Lifestyle. See certain people in certain groups of people that fall into this category mentally Disturbed with all types of psychological problems. We got the people that are that are uneducated. I mean, I may be illiterate people that are do not know how to speak English a reading this year, you know, and then you have people that are women that are you don't have children and don't have no other option but to go on welfare, but I don't know what percentage is but I say I've met and there does exist a lot of people that have that unfortunately the government set free from mental institutions. I would say a great percentage them are still out in the street and the bulk of them leave psychological evaluation and need to have need to get their life intact, uh, move to Minnesota nearly a year ago at the suggestion of a friend. He used to live in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. I did a sort of jobs. I was a security guard. I did many jobs went to high school. Some college didn't do well at all kinds of psychological problems. But thank God my mind is clear. I don't I'm not depending on any drugs, but basically what it is is that when you experience this kind of Lifestyle, it's one thing to speak about it and wanting to tear read it intellectually in and paper than 22 experiences through the lifestyle, you know, how you can intellectualize a lot of things in life and you can read all kinds of things about this happened that happened on what it is to experience is when you actually live this kind of lifestyle is far more, you know, a book tells a million pictures while living this lifestyle tell you exactly how fortunate you are that at least I have I know at least I have a sound mind and a clear mind but a lot of people here is pitiful condition and a lot of people here will probably live their life living in shelters from shelter to shelter and living in the street. Tom says he's studying at a local vocational school to become a cook or a baker when he's not at school. He spends the day studying eating free meals at a soup kitchen or just walking around looking at things Tom tries to keep busy at positive tasks to keep from hating his situation. He blacked you to believe that it's enjoyable to be home. This is enjoyable to live this kind of life people actually believe that people there's access your there's a percentage of people that accept this way of life, but a lot of people here don't particularly care for this way of life want to work want to be productive citizens, you know, I mean, I you got to be a half-crazed you have a lunatic to think of this as a pleasant Life to Live, you know, (00:15:04) I got burned out of my apartment. It was arson. I come (00:15:07) here 9:40 in the shelter office. Julie is 20 years (00:15:11) old. Actually the first time I was here it was me and my boyfriend we were living with a friend of mine and she kicked us out. So we started sleeping outside and everything. This was last winter then we found out about st. Stephen. So we come down here. We stayed here for three months. We got an apartment. We got burned out I came back here. He went to live with a friend. We got another apartment together. We couldn't keep up the rent. So that made me back here to where I'm hoping to get an apartment of my own now one bedroom so I can get ready for the baby. Now. I'm happy (00:15:51) Julie is eight months pregnant her belly swells inside a pair of long johns and the neon orange bathrobe. She is wearing her skin is the color of coffee with too much cream in it. Her strawberry blond hair wet from a shower is wrapped in a towel. Julie has been living at st. Stephen's shelter for several months. Now she split up with the baby's father but says she's not much worried about the future because anything is better than the past Julie left her Minneapolis home at age 12 and moved to Chicago where by the time she was 14. She had two babies and got involved with (00:16:25) crime when I was living in Chicago. I had two uncles of Michael's death the mafia. I ran cold came back and forth from I got caught with cocaine. I got put up for murder. And that's when the state of Chicago gave me a choice. It was either to go to prison for the rest of my life in Chicago or never come back to Chicago. So the choice I picked was not to come back to (00:16:53) Chicago her two boys taken from her by the courts Julie moved back to Minnesota and her life spiraled deeper and deeper into violence and crime (00:17:01) had quite a few salts when I come back here got picked up for carrying illegal weapons. Got picked up for stealing cars. and I go picked up for voluntary manslaughter So I've had my share a lot of people wonder a lot of people say oh this person talk me into this but you already know for a fact. I don't blame that on nobody. I blame that on myself. No one can talk you into nothing the things I did in my life sure enough. They don't look good when you talk about him, but I did them (00:17:40) after the baby is born. Julie will think about going back to school to finish work on an accounting degree. She still visits her parents in town from time to time but says she can't live with them. Julie's parents don't know about her two older children or the time she spent in jail. All they know is that she's trying to reassemble her (00:17:58) life people wonder since we do since we have been on the streets for a long time, we do live in shelters. We have lived in shelters for a long time. Does that make us quit on life? No, no one can take away your dreams. My dreams, I don't plan sure enough I need for right now while I go to school and while the baby's growing up I need afdc, but I don't plan to be there forever. I have goals in my life that I like to accomplish. I've accomplished a lot of my life, but I have a I have done a lot to hurt myself in (00:18:27) life, too. And 23 the coffee pot is unplugged signaling the end of the evening. Nearly. Everyone is already in bed. Some are quite particular about how their sleeping quarters are arranged one husky man in a wool stocking cap stretches out on top of a table spooning out the last bites from a quart of chocolate marshmallow ice cream another man prefers the hard floor no mattress pulling himself into a tight ball under a pile of blankets Six Women and 24 men are spending the night. The television finally goes off and volunteer Mark Delehanty locks the outside doors for the night. Delehanty is 28 years old. He's a law student at the University of Minnesota in the two years that he's been donating time to st. Stephen's Delehanty has come to know many of the guests quite well, he looks forward to the night. He spends every few weeks sharing a room with the homeless don't know really what got me down here. Just I had a friend who worked on here and invited me to come over for a night and I saw that they had a need and now I enjoy coming down I get to know most of the folks and into a note no trouble at all. Enjoy. Usually just end up playing cards are watching TV over the evening and very rarely has any trouble or in my needed for anything other than to help get cleaned up get things cleaned up in the morning from time to time a guest arrives drunk. It has to be sent away or lights up a joint in the hallway. Sometimes a scuffle develops between guests usually over what to watch on TV or who gets to put mattresses where Delehanty handles those situations firmly but also with a boyish Flair for jokes and fun his past includes Union organizing and pastoral work in South America working here at the shelter. Delehanty says keeps him in touch with what he calls. The real needs people need a place to stay and makes me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile when I can be part of offering them a place to stay and also just because it keeps me sane. There's a surprising amount of friendship and camaraderie that you don't see when the people are on the streets and people take care of each other down here and that's real nice to see It kind of breaks through some of the stereotypes of you think most people think of me going to the shelter. They think of the bombs. Why would you want to sleep with the bums but there's a real little little tiny sense of community down here. That's encouraging. It's 5:55 a.m. After a quiet night quiet as you can expect with 32 people sleeping in a church basement Mark Delehanty and the other overnight volunteer prepare breakfast an old coffee urn moans in the background as Delehanty cracks eggs two at a time into a large metal Bowl. Breakfast is scrambled eggs toast with jelly and of course coffee some of the guests refuse to budge until the coffee is brewed others just don't want to move. It's 16 below outside and no one likes that thought Carol Six Clock. That orange marmalade or a grape jam. It doesn't matter just after breakfast a few of the guests will volunteer to help empty the trash and to sweep the floor mattresses and blankets are stuffed back into closets because in a few hours this room will be used for senior citizen Bingo. There is no tidy ending to this story because there is no end for these people. It's the beginning of another work day the work of trying to find a warm spot to sit of waiting in line for charity food of getting kicked out of hotel lobbies or hustled out of doorways by a cop of another day down at the welfare office. at the job training class or nowhere in particular shelter for the night was written and produced by Stephen Smith technical Direction by Scott Yankees with assistance from Patty Rudolph. Shelter for the night originally broadcast last year at about this time and I think one of the major differences between last year and this year at least superficially is the weather last year December of 1985 was bitterly cold. Stephen said something about a 16 below temperature outside the morning that the people were getting up at the shelter nothing like that currently in the Minneapolis st. Paul area. As a matter of fact, it's downright balmy with readings in the 20s and 30s fairly common. But the problem of the wholeness is still with us and we're going to be spending the rest of the hour with a woman who has some special expertise in the area will open the telephone lines to for your questions. The guest with me today is Nancy nagler who chairs the Saint Paul Coalition for the homeless Nancy. Thank you for coming in today. Thank you. What what do you think about that program? We just heard how contemporary how accurate do you think it is for the current (00:24:08) situation? I think unfortunately, it's very accurate the lives of homeless people have not changed much and what Steve left the report with saying that it's a beginning of a new day is still the beginning of every day for every homeless person and unfortunately, there's been very little done to establish areas to move people out of homelessness. And unfortunately, I think the big change between last year this year at this time and this year at this time is that there's an increase in the number of Most people across the country. In fact, the largest increase has been in the numbers of families and single parents with children under the age of five and that's an that's an alarming increase. (00:24:53) No, do you have a rough idea how many homeless people there are in the Minneapolis st. Paul (00:24:58) area? Well, I'd like to use a figure that was compiled by the Metropolitan Council earlier this year. It was based upon a figure that was worked on by the st. Paul overnight shelter board, which is a group established and worked on through the city of st. Paul. They estimated that in one year's time in the metropolitan area, which includes the whole metro area not just Minneapolis and st. Paul that there are between 35 and 54 thousand different individuals who are homeless and moved through the shelter system (00:25:30) and 35,000 54,000. (00:25:34) In one year, they estimate that in st. Paul alone somewhere between nine and ten thousand people different people are homeless. And those are simply the people who are using the shelter system. Those are not the people who are for instance doubled up with friends and family. Those are not the people who are staying outside and not those people who are staying up all night and then sleeping during the day and different drop-in centers (00:25:57) who are the homeless in Stevens report. He said that at the st. Stephen shelter. It was mostly men in there single men in their 20s and 30s. I think his cot was something like six women and 24 men at one point in the program. Is that still pretty much the case or talk a little bit more about the increase in the number of single parents. I guess (00:26:17) there's still the largest number of homeless people are in the single male variety between the ages of about 20 and 45. The numbers of people who are increasing our in the area of battered women women with children and small children and also an alarming number of what has been termed throwaway youth meaning kids between the age of about 10 and 18 whose parents decide that they can't deal with them anymore. They don't like them anymore and they kick them out of the house and the kids up and up on the streets the percentage in terms of other populations in the homeless category is pretty much as unique as every individual. There are a number of people who are mentally ill their number of people who are chemically dependent and those are varying degrees of mental illness and varying degrees of chemical dependency. There are a lot of people have been recently unemployed. Minnesota is unique in the country as is a number of the areas in the rural area which have rural counties and that we're seeing a lot more people from the whole heartland region. Who are coming to the Twin Cities because they see it as a land of opportunity a land of jobs people who have been forced off their Farms or forced off at the rural businesses coming here looking for work and ending up on the streets. (00:27:39) It is about half past. The hour Nancy nagler is with us today. She is chairperson for the st. Paul Coalition for the homeless. And if you have a question for her about the homeless what to do about it any suggestions that she might have any observations. You have your free to give us a call in the middle of st. Paul area 2276 thousand 2276 thousand in the Twin Cities elsewhere within the state of Minnesota one 865 two nine seven zero zero one eight hundred six, five two nine seven zero zero and outside the state of Minnesota. You can call us directly in the Twin Cities at area code 612 2276 thousand those Twin City lands are all open at the moment. The homeless problem is primarily in urban 1 is it not Find very much of this situation in some of the smaller towns around the area. Do you (00:28:33) well, I think there's a homeless problem in virtually every major city in Minnesota and that includes, you know, St Cloud Duluth Moorhead Mankato, but certainly I think there's a different mentality in the rural areas people who raise food on their own Farms usually have enough to eat and if the whole Farm goes and they go and there's a real sense, I think of community that differs from the city where people are not as much of a community because there's a greater chance of fear. There's a greater chance of crime. You don't know who your neighbor is. But I think in general as you look at the size of cities you see a gradually increasing number of homeless people for instance. The Minneapolis is roughly twice as the size of st. Paul. They have roughly twice the number of homeless people as we do. (00:29:24) I read something in the New York Times recently about the number of homeless people in that City. It was just unbelievable. You forget the number of its (00:29:30) astronomical and York City. It's somewhere around I think 25 to 35 thousand, and that's a problem, which basically cannot be handled. There's no way that they can unless they expedite a great number of dollars immediately and do it. Not just for emergency shelter, but for fordable housing for jobs for everything, they're never going to get a handle on it, and there's a real frustration in large metropolitan areas. They don't know where to start (00:30:00) Nancy. Lots of people on the telephone line with questions for you today. So, let's get to our callers and find out what they want to know what they need to know. Go ahead please your And Cena Ziggler is listening. (00:30:09) Hi Nancy. Hi. I'm I don't have any suggestions for ways that you know help with the problem might have a question which is is there a need for volunteers especially for the Christmas season, but then all winter to come to any of the shelters to help with food preparation or what can people who do might have some free time and have some resources do to help once you just a couple of things. I think one thing that you touched on which is very important is that the homeless problem is not just in the cold part of the winter. It's not just around Christmas time, but it's around the whole year and yes, there's a need for volunteers. What I would recommend doing is contacting the different individual shelters because they all have their own programs and they all have different ways to put volunteers into action. The other alternative would be to contact the st. Paul Coalition for the homeless because we also have used for volunteers and that's many ways and in the areas of Education of the rest of the community the other thing that I would encourage people to do and it's very very simple is this simply start recognizing homeless people as people who have dignity and people who need to be treated as human beings. So instead of crossing the street of you see somebody who's bedraggled instead of turning your head simply turn and say hello because then you're opening yourself up and you're saying I recognize you as a human being and you deserve to be recognized. (00:31:37) Well, aren't you also opening yourself up to being panhandled? (00:31:40) I don't think so. I certainly have been panhandled in the past. But I think it's very important. It's a sort of thing that you would do. If you saw a friend on the street, it's a sort of thing that you would do if you saw anybody on the street and you can always say no, I'm sorry. I don't have any money. Is there something that you need do you need food? Can I direct you to the Dorothy Day Center where they have food. Do you need shelter? Can I direct you to an emergency shelter? (00:32:08) We have a number of other listeners on the line with questions as we talked with Nancy nagler about the problem of homelessness today. And what's your question? Go ahead, please (00:32:18) Nancy. I had heard that there was a house I think up in Plymouth that was being considered for housing the homeless who are mentally ill and I'm wondering if there's any if you have any update on that and another question is that Native American on this tape had said that he would like to see a shelter at little Earth and I'm wondering if there has been any movement on that and why couldn't that happen that seems to be a very reasonable and infeasible request and then the third thing is could there be more appeal like through the churches for people to just open up their homes to some homeless who have been screened by shelter workers but to for the larger Community to Help in this problem. I'm respond to those individually first of all in terms of the house in Plymouth. I really don't know that much about it. And Plymouth is my expertise is more actually lies in with the st. Paul and st. Paul suburbs rather than with Minneapolis. I would highly recommend calling the Minneapolis Coalition for the homeless and they're in the phone book or else you can call information and they would probably have that information for you. Secondly in terms of the American Indian and the shelter little Earth. I do think that would be a really good idea. Again, that's Minneapolis and the person who spoke was correct. There's a very unique culture among the American Indians and that's something which does need to be preserved and I don't think that that's an unreasonable idea at all and thirdly as far as appeal for people to open their homes. This has been an idea that's been explored over a number of years and a couple of years ago Dorothy Day Center. In fact did some screening and st. Paul to have we'll open up their homes and what they found was as charitable as people are it's a real shock to have to start serving people who are homeless because the value systems and their survival skills that people have built up who are homeless are very different from the ordinary skills that you and I have and it's often a real adjustment period I don't think that that is still a and question that doesn't need to be explored what I think also needs to happen and I'm very glad that you are open to this idea is to have the Community start assuming responsibility and Beyond neighborhoods involve churches involve Community groups and set your sights on a building that maybe you as a community can develop for transitional housing for fordable housing for emergency shelter and then work with the individual homeless people to integrate them into the community so that they feel like they're a part of a group of people and I think that's It's very important in the process to bring them back into society (00:35:12) and see where do you think the resources for all of this are going to come from? I mean as taxpayers we feel like we have our paying as much as we should I think in general, I think that individuals feel that in most cases they are being as generous as they can with all the various nonprofit organizations and all the various Charities that come to them the foundation's face a tremendous burden corporations face a tremendous burden. We're in the world of the resources going to come from (00:35:38) I think in many ways. It's that the resources right now are not being directed as efficiently as they should be. There's I think back to New York City in 1981. They passed a right to shelter law which guaranteed shelter for all homeless people and a year later mayor Koch through a few phone calls and quite a bit of lobbying raised about 800 million dollars from foundations in the city of New York and from Individual contributions if Koch can do that in New York. I don't see why that similar effort can't be done here in Minnesota and in Minneapolis and st. Paul it does come down to a dollar allotment. But there's also a great deal that people will do for no cost at all as an example when they're renovating the Dorothy Day Center trades in labor, which is a local union turned in a lot of pro bono work and simply did things free of charge in order to get it upgraded. I think when you start thinking of people as your brothers and sisters when you start thinking them as fellow human beings then the dollar cost stop stop meaning so much and what means more is that could be me and I have a responsibility to make sure that that person has some basic needs I responsibility to make sure that I can have that person. Bit more to society because that could be me and I'd want somebody to do that for me (00:37:12) Nancy nagler chairperson of the st. Paul Coalition for the homeless with us today. We have more callers on the line and let's move on to your question. Please go ahead first an observation. And then a question for the respondent does the 1960s. I was a social worker on Skid Row in Minneapolis st. Paul. It's time did not get bowl. And it was largely male largely from small towns within the folder. But more recent observations. The me has led to be needed to food that the populations are homeless population. There's more is younger more minorities and more violent and as Minnesota small towns died as a result of the economy. Don't you think is beyond the capacity or the will even the intent of of the private sector to take care of these people. (00:38:15) First I'd like to comment on your observation on the population (00:38:19) younger more minority more (00:38:21) violent. Yes. Yeah. First of all, I think that there has been a trend perhaps from the 1960s that there are more people who are homeless and that's affecting more age groups. So indeed there are increases in the numbers of minorities and the increases in the number of people who are for instance under age 40, as far as there being more violent. I do have two feverishly disagree with that. I think that there's a certain amount of violence in the homeless population and it's maybe something that we can identify more because it's a distinct population, but there's more violence in the world right now and there's a lot more anger and there's a lot more fear. And I don't think that that is has been a trend that's been in fact increasing in terms of the intent and the responsibility of the private sector and whether or not the private sector can totally handle it. No, you cannot there's been a distinct trend on the part of this Administration as far as this National Administration to remove responsibility for helping people who are destitute and in the process, they've cut back on a very important things like affordable housing and jobs programs. Without government intervening without the private sector intervening without the community pulling together and saying it is everybody's responsibility. Nothing is going to happen and we do need a return to some of the programs that were so successful like Section 8 programs and different jobs programs and we need the money put back in those on a federal (00:40:01) basis. Moving on to some more listeners with questions about the homeless today. Hi, you're on the air. Hello Nancy. Hi a little bit on just your last statement, but it's obvious from the documentary that many of these people are relying on shelters for immediate crisis shelter needs. I'm wondering if you have any ideas on what sorts of changes to the welfare system which some of these people have been cut off on or maybe on the way back to what changes in the welfare system and jobs programs are need needed to help these people get self-sufficient. I'll hang up in the (00:40:39) in terms of changes to the welfare system. I think that the welfare system right now set up as a stopgap measure just as Emergency Shelters are sort of a Band-Aid of the problem. There's very little right now that is in place with the exception of some transitional housing program, but certainly not enough to move people out of emergency shelter and into an independent lifestyle. There's also a real lack in the state of jobs for all people and certainly jobs that allow people to live independently and off of welfare. The welfare system itself is set up. I think in many ways to keep people on it if people for instance get a job while they're on welfare, then their welfare benefits are cut so that they're always at the same subsistence level and that's really sad because people have no incentive to try to get off of welfare and there has to be a change in that I think too that when you talk about jobs, you need to talk about job training and you need to talk about people who have lost a great deal of social skills and have lost a lot of confidence and they need special help being able to become a part of the community. Even that is the working community in the workplace. (00:41:56) We have about 15 minutes left with Nancy nagler today. We have a couple of lines available now. So if you have a question for her 2276 thousand is the Twin Cities number to call to to seven six thousand. We have some open lines and in other parts of Minnesota the toll-free number 1-800-695-1418. You've been waiting patiently. What's your question? I'll go ahead please. Yeah. I have a question. I first a comment and a question. I live in a relatively small but affluent Town Rochester and it's been estimated. We have anywhere from five hundred to a thousand homeless in this town and that surprises a lot of people my question is about public housing is it not true that most single people are not eligible for public housing and secondly, though the people that I know who who are bound for instance from public housing list have been on there for one two, possibly three years waiting for seem like to me that part of the solution could be to build more public housing. I'll listen for your answer. Thank you. (00:43:09) I think that you're indeed correct that when people do find out that they're actually homeless people in their neighborhood or in their Community. It is a real shock in terms of public housing the options for all people are limited and in fact less so for the elderly and in fact less, so even for single people right now in st. Paul the waitlist if you have for instance family of four or five or six exceed six years and this is indeed a program which has been very beneficial for people who are on limited incomes and do need housing in order to maintain a stable lifestyle. For those of you listeners who may not know that much about public housing and Section 8 program. What it does is allow people to pay 30% of their income for rent and utilities and then also includes a damage deposit. So people who are on limited incomes or on minimum Wage jobs can afford to live in a dignified area. The Reagan Administration has been cutting back in the public housing program as they have been on the Section 8 program and we aren't really seeing the disastrous consequences of this yet. But I think that 1990 and Beyond as public housing units can no longer be maintained as Section 8 units are lost. We're going to see a real increase in the numbers of homeless people. (00:44:36) Let's move on to another caller with a question. Go ahead. You're on the air. No. Hi Nancy. Hi. This is a laid-off steelworker up north of Hibbing been listening to your program. And I think it's a real fantastic situation that you people have got in helping these people. And first of all second of all, I would like to give the repeater station that we have up here wir bulit. I support a little plug fine happy to hear a listener wi well television a and the other radio dial of programming that doesn't even exist in my mind because it it's really great MPR at any rate. I would like to possibly suggest some sort of a mechanical or a situation that you might start making an appeal to people to send in some money to support these people for their food. I was rather surprised to learn in your deal from last year. These people are eating peanut butter and jelly How much is in Kool-Aid which is better than nothing peanut butters got a lot of value, but why wouldn't you put out a list and put it in such public places as libraries and places such as that the where these people could send a few dollars. (00:45:59) I think that's a great idea and I think it's a an idea that certainly needs to be explored. I think the food shelves and the food bank Network in the state of Minnesota has been wonderful in getting people involved in contributing canned food and basic need items to people who are hungry. It's much harder to address people who are homeless because their needs are so extensive, but I think that your suggestion is wonderful and I hope that you soon find a job up there north of having (00:46:28) I was going to ask you about the nutrition quality of the food is what we heard in the documentary fairly typical peanut butter sandwiches and a few crackers and that sort of thing. (00:46:37) Well, it varies from shelter to shelter and it varies in terms of the soup kitchens usually at Dorothy Day Center in st. Paul. They have a couple of hot meals a day what it sounded like to me that they in fact were highlighting at st. Stephen's was maybe not the main meal, but what might have been a snack in the evening, but I'm not absolutely sure about (00:46:57) that. All right, let's move on. To another caller with a question has been waiting for a while higher on the air now another comment stimulated by your documentary recently had the case. You're going to have to speak up sir. I think there's something a little bit not working. What quite right with the phone speak up Kenya. Yeah, I can holler louder (00:47:18) good. Thank you. (00:47:20) Anyway comment that came out of your documentary recently had the occasion to be down at the general assistance office and in an area like the Twin Cities where we started the Smoke Out business. I was impressed that here these people get food stamps and food shelves and things like this. They very persistently are smoking and the reference in your documentary was the room was filling with smoke wouldn't this be a place where somebody who is interested in educating them to get off of tobacco might go to work. (00:48:06) It might be an idea. I think that in many ways for many people. Smoking is as much of a psychological dependency and oftentimes the nicotine is a even a chemical dependency a number of people who are homeless are dependent on one thing and another and a lot of times smoking gives you something to do and they have a lot of time that they're spent waiting in lines, whether it be for General systems or / soup kitchens or for a bed for the night and they sometimes need something to do so that might account for it. I don't think that they that your suggestion is unreasonable. However, (00:48:42) a 10 minutes before the hour. We'll take your question next go ahead please Nancy nagler is listening. Hi Nancy. Hi. I work with the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. Okay, and we are aware that 1987 is the international un Europe shelter. And so I was wondering if if you are working on anything regarding Community Education and cooperation regarding this. (00:49:08) We thought about it and I'm really happy that you brought that up. There is a nice amount of money and I'm can't even exactly side how much it was. It was going to be given away Nationwide for programs which work to help the homeless in st. Paul. We've been looking at a number of different options ways to open up the year and talk about the year as an international year of shoulder but also making resolutions that it's time at the beginning of a year to renew our commitment to the homeless to work together as a community in light of this International year and light of the fact that the problem is increasing and in light of commitments that we either do or maybe can feel for people who are homeless and destitute and hungry (00:49:55) in the city of st. Paul and its suburbs or the area that you are generally comfortable with hominid temporary shelter beds are available on a given night. And how much demand is there for those (00:50:06) beds? There's a bow Eight different Emergency Shelters, which range in bed size from a hundred and three at the Union Gospel Mission to about eight at a small chemical dependency treatment facility called Jewel Fairbanks, and it really varies from season to season and the bed amount is roughly about 320 shelter beds right now much to our surprise over the summer and over this winter. The beds are running about 90% to 100% full the battered women shelters are running above capacity and they're turning people away the Dorothy Day Center, which is a very popular shelter and st. Paul has a wait list every night of 15 people and per day at the YWCA, which is the only shelter for women and children and st. Paul. They are turning away somewhere between four and seven people. (00:51:02) All right. Let's move on to another caller with a question. Go ahead please you're on with Nancy nagler. (00:51:06) Hello, Nancy. Hi sounds like low-cost housing really. (00:51:14) I'm going sorry. You're going to have to speak up to we've got a little problem with our phone system. Can you speak really loudly ma'am? Thank you. (00:51:24) And I was wondering what is happening locally federally. In that year the question was in terms of low-cost housing and what's happening locally and federally with that area there have been in the city of st. Paul in about the past five years. There's been the loss of somewhere between 500 to 750 units of affordable housing without replacing it that's been a grave lost and as I highlighted earlier, I think we're going to see even more losses in terms of Section 8 in public housing programs in the past year though, the cities of st. Paul and Minneapolis and the counties of Ramsey and Hennepin have taken a real proactive approach to developing fordable housing and developing transitional housing programs through a program called more than shelter and they've site money from foundations and I began to develop affordable housing. However, as the cities have agreed unless the federal government begins to take a similar. Active response and put more money into public housing more money into Section 8 the cities by themselves cannot compensate for the loss has already occurred and potentially the losses in the future (00:52:41) more listeners are waiting with questions. We're talking with Nancy nagler who chairs the Saint Paul Coalition for the homeless. We have time for a few more questions if we can get them on go ahead please you're (00:52:49) next. Hi. I'd like to know what is a good place to find a support? What is a good group? Are there any that are non-religious one there are some which are non-religious and the question is related to what is a good group to support and are there any groups which are non-religious? I have to speak with some biased and say that the same ball Coalition for the homeless is a great group group to support but I think in terms of how you want to support things if you want to look at emergency needs sort of mid-range needs and long-term needs the options would be for emergency needs perhaps giving to an individual shelter or else making a contribution to the United Way and I'm speaking strictly for st. Paul when I was talking about this the Emergency Care fund which provides money for food shelter and clothing for homeless and hungry people. There's also the Minnesota food bank Network and the st. Paul emergency food bank and both of those are very fine groups and they're not in compliance with any sort of religious background or religious order in terms of mid-range approaches. What I would highly recommend you doing is looking at what groups are sponsoring transitional housing programs and that would include people like the Salvation Army the city of st. Paul on the Wilder foundation and long-term when I speak about the Saint Paul Coalition for the homeless when I'm talking about her advocacy organizations people who look at long-term approaches both educationally and legislatively to solving the problems of the (00:54:30) homeless. And Cena Ziggler is with us and we'll put a couple more people on the air with questions for her as we get down near the end. Hello. You're on. Hello. Yes. Yes. (00:54:40) I just wanted to say this that we're expecting so many programs were talking about programs food stamps and Welfare and Olly The things that are supposed to Levy the problems of the so-called Street people and they're supposed to be so many younger he Street people today. Well what happened to the training that they're supposed to get in their homes. I know when I was growing up. I remember that that popular song The Classic Battle of a human her my (00:55:08) parents quarreled all that, but they (00:55:10) didn't We Are Family stuck together and we didn't I never heard of any parents doing kids out in the street or anything like that in those days and the thing is also one man was mentioning before lat his chance to read Playboy magazine. Well when they're going to read garbage like that, no wonder they're that that's that's not going to they're not going to help themselves. Get out of a rut of being out of a (00:55:33) job. All right, ma'am. Thank you for your for your observations. Let's get Nancy's of view on the situation with with parents and home and so (00:55:42) on. I think she she touches on something which I've observed certainly since when my parents were growing up in the 20s has been a real change. I think there's been a real loss of a sense of family when my parents are growing up in the 30s and the 40s the elderly stayed with the family through the dark times the family stuck together and they defended each other. Now, I think that there's a lot more things which are scaring individuals. There's a lot of threats to our own Survival and it's becoming much more of an individual culture rather than a family culture and instead of dealing with problems were now separating ourselves from other individuals. You can see the numbers of divorces the numbers of separations and indeed in the numbers of people who are elderly who are being kicked out by their kids because they don't want to deal the deal with them anymore and the numbers of children whose parents say I can't deal with you anymore. You're on your own even if the child is 10 or 11. (00:56:45) Nancy we have just about run out of time. I don't think we have the opportunity to put another listener I'm with you but let me ask you very briefly. You've talked about you are from the Coalition st. Paul Coalition for the homeless. What is the organization (00:56:57) the Same by Coalition for the Homeless was formed in 1981 and 1982 originally as a group called the committee on Street people and it was in those years that we first started seeing the large numbers of homeless people hitting the streets the group now has a mailing list and membership list of over a hundred fifty people and that includes homeless people. It includes government people from all sectors of government Social Service people religious organizations and virtually any sort of organization that you could end identify in the city whether be foundations or whatever probably has a member on the st. Paul Coalition for the homeless. We largely are a networking group, and we also do legislative changes in education in the community (00:57:43) Nancy. Thank you very much for (00:57:44) coming and (00:57:44) You very much very informative today Nancy nagler chairperson of the Saint Paul Coalition for the homeless earlier. We heard Stephen Smith documentary shelter for the night.


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