Leech Lake Band Opens Homeless Shelter in Cass Lake
November 26, 2019
Cass Lake now has a homeless shelter for community members in need. The shelter offers temporary housing for individuals and families. Construction for the homeless shelter in Cass Lake began in 2018, and now that it’s complete, officials say the shelter will provide temporary housing until the bigger issue of affordable housing on Leech Lake is resolved.
“It’s been a big need for our band members and community members for many years,” said Arthur “Archie” LaRose, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Secretary/Treasurer. “This is a positive homeless shelter we built. It’s going to help our band members out tremendously, it’s going to change their lives, but they have to meet us halfway. They have to do what they have to do and we’ll do our part to put a roof over their head and food on the table.”
The shelter can accommodate up to 70 people and has eight rooms. There are six family rooms and two rooms that can house up to 20 people each, and multiple common areas and a kitchen are also available for residents. Leech Lake Tribal Chairman Faron Jackson, Sr. says he wants people to feel secure while at the shelter.
“We want this to be a drug and alcohol-free zone, where families and the people utilizing the shelter can feel safe here,” Jackson said.
The homeless shelter will provide services like mental health and chemical dependency, medical services and family counseling.
“Once we have our residents here, I want to bring our different services to them, you know, kind of like a wraparound model,” said Earl Robinson, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Human Services Director. “Wrap as many services as I can to them.”
Robinson says the homeless shelter is a good first step in helping people transition and get back on their feet.
The project cost about $2.25 million. Council members are talking about opening another shelter in the District 1 area in Cass Lake.