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Ruth Meiers Hospitality House provides key services to those who are at risk for homelessness. Our purpose is to “provide direct and collaborative support to those in need of essential services, education and guidance” in order to meet our mission of “providing pathways to empower individuals in achieving self-sufficiency.”

In 2017 RMHH celebrated 30 years in existence. From modest beginnings as a single home shelter for seven men, RMHH has evolved into a regional center with a mission and purpose to provide services to men, women, and children at the 1100 East Boulevard location, adjacent to our state Capitol.

Two distinct programs, the Transitional Living Program and the Affordable Housing Program, provide shelter to over 1,100 individuals on an annual basis. Located within the former Baptist Home, the Transitional Living Program currently provides 127 short term beds for individuals, couples, and families with children. Our Affordable Housing Program offers 85 one and two bedroom efficiency apartments. On any given day, RMHH provides essential services for an estimated 200 adults and children.

The Transitional Living Program provides supportive services through a renewable 30-day housing contract in dormitory style housing and semi-private accommodations. Additional essential services include: case management, shelter assistance, three meals per day, licensed day care, after school programming, full-day summer care for school age children, education and training services, employment assistance, laundry facilities, and transportation.

We refer to partner organizations for legal services, mental health services, outpatient health services, and substance abuse services. Further, a community reintegration network is developed with agencies such as Veterans Administration, West Central Human Services, BECEP, Bismarck Public Schools, Community Action, Heartview, Sanford, CHI St. Alexius, Job Service, Three Affiliated Tribes, and Vocational Rehab.

The Affordable Supportive Housing Program offers 85 Affordable Housing apartments to low-income individuals who have been successful in the Transitional Living Program. Apartments are rented using North Dakota Housing Finance guidlines. Program tenants sign a year’s lease with recertification of income after the year and before a new lease is signed. Apartment tenants have access to the some of the same services as Transitional Living Program residents.

Luke’s Kitchen was created in the honor of Luke Meiers, a nephew of our founder, former Lt. Gov. Ruth Meiers. Luke Meiers selflessly dedicated his life to serving those who were homeless and in need within the community. With the same spirit, Luke’s Kitchen serves an average of 135 hot meals per day and an additional 40 continental breakfasts and sack lunches for those leaving for work. A service provided seven days per week and 365 days per year, Luke’s Kitchen alone serves over 63,000 meals per year.

During the first quarter of the 2017-18 fiscal year, the Transitional Living Program alone provided service to 261 individuals: 93 women, 82 children, and 86 men. Based on first quarter participation, we project that by June 30, 2018, RMHH will serve over 1,000 individuals in the Transitional Living Program, seeing a growth greater than 25 percent. With this growth comes the additional cost of operation and the need for support to continue providing the essential services and assistance to individuals and families who are working towards self-sufficiency and community reintegration.

The board of directors of Ruth Meiers Hospitality House urges members of the community to come visit and see the great work that is being done in the community. With the donation of your time, talent, and treasures, RMHH will continue to play an integral role in providing services to those most vulnerable among us.

This opinion article was signed by the Ruth Meiers Board of Directors: Mike Mulloy, Ron Nichols, Dick Espeland, Allan Stenehjem, Teresa Gorder, Jenni Boeckel, Vivian Meiers and Rae Ann Kelsch.