North Dakota Adult and Teen Challenge

The former Mandan Hospital now used by North Dakota Adult and Teen Challenge was being considered as a possible location for a homeless men's shelter. On Monday, Mandan's Planning and Zoning Commission denied a request to use the property as a temporary homeless shelter. The building is located in northwest Mandan.

Mandan's Planning and Zoning Commission Monday unanimously voted against a special use permit proposal to open a temporary men's homeless shelter in the North Dakota Adult and Teen Challenge building located in northwest Mandan.

The meeting room at City Hall was packed as Mandan residents for and against the shelter voiced their opinions. 

Citizen concerns ranged from the neighborhood being residential, children's safety and a day care nearby. As well as the homeless potentially wandering the neighborhood, lack of  transportation and decrease in property values.  

The shelter would have used the southeast section of the building and housed 20 men at maximum who were over 18 years of age. 

The proposal also mentioned that it would have been transitional housing with the goal of assisting residents with obtaining permit housing, only allowing a maximum 30-day stay, with prescreenings of potential residents. 

Mandan News columnist and resident Dan Ulmer spoke at Monday's meeting, when a commission member asked if anyone was in support of the shelter and many attendees laughed. "This is a serious issue," Ulmer said during a phone interview.

Ulmer said he agrees with the commission's decision and added that the proposal had too many loose ends. "It's a community issue, we have to come up with something," Ulmer said. 

In a letter submitted to the commission, the North Dakota Adult and Teen Challenge executive director, Pastor Phil Wolverton, stated: "If this request is granted it could help the community provide housing for the upcoming winter for homeless men, rehabilitate men back into the work field, become sober, have the option to become a student in our residential program, along with many other benefits."

Bismarck-Mandan nonprofit agencies have been searching for a solution for the homeless since the Ruth Meiers Hospitality House closed its emergency men's shelter in October. 

To view the Mandan Planning and Zoning Commission agenda or budget from Nov. 27, visit www.cityofmandan.com

Reach Tyana Johnson at 701-250-8250 or editor@mandan-news.com.

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