Williston's Project Heat emergency homeless shelter for men expanding this winter

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WILLISTON, North Dakota — A temporary emergency homeless shelter for men that operated in Williston for about seven weeks last winter is being expanded to several months this winter.

The Salvation Army and several Williston-area churches organized Project Heat last February, with the help of numerous volunteers. A local crew camp provided 10 beds for 50 nights for the program.

Project Heat has started up again this month and is scheduled to run into March, the Williston Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1xaH6c0 ). The goal is to not only help newcomers to the oil-patch city escape the cold, but also to help them become established.

"It's an important program, but it's set up to be a temporary solution," said Salvation Army Capt. Joshua Stansbury. "It's meant to be a transitional program to put them into jobs and housing.

"About 95 percent of the people that participated in the program (last year) have found a job and have lodging," he said.

Williston's population has doubled thanks to the oil boom since 2010, to an estimated 30,000 people. Staff at the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People have found people sleeping in cars, storage units, grain bins and haystacks in Williston, Executive Director Michael Carbone said.

"It's very remarkable what people will endure to try and take advantage of the opportunities that exist in North Dakota," Carbone said. "Housing is the solution to homelessness. Housing that is appropriate to all people. But right now, I'm sure 150 shelter beds could be full (in Williston)."


Information from: Williston Herald, http://www.willistonherald.com

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