People stepped up this holiday season to fill the coffers at the Minot Area Homeless Coalition.
"We probably had the best year we've ever had on donations," said executive director Mac McLeod. "We're fully stocked."
McLeod said Tuesday that was not the case just before Christmas, when the agency was short on just about everything, from nonperishable goods to toiletries.
Now, thanks to the generosity of donors, the Homeless Coalition will be able to supply needed items such as toilet paper, toothpaste, soap or short-term funds to help people get by until their paycheck comes due.
But that doesn't mean the need has gone away, said McLeod, noting that he still has a waiting list to help people in need of assistance with a rent and security deposit voucher.
"The need is continuing to spiral up, with no end in sight," said McLeod.
McLeod said, on average, six or seven people walk into his office each day seeking help. That doesn't count the people who have made appointments to meet with him.
The homeless come from a variety of circumstances. Some people are living in their cars, even in below zero weather. Others are couch surfing, living with different friends or relatives. Some have come to the state for work and end up stranded, because they haven't done their research and haven't lined up housing first. Others are long-time residents who have been evicted from their apartments or rented houses.
"Housing is still an issue," said McLeod, even though he does see some improvements in the last few years in the housing market. He said affordable housing is in particular short supply.
The Homeless Coalition can help people get back on their feet with different types of assistance. One person might need a gas voucher to keep gas in his vehicle while he's going to and from work. Someone else might have lost her identification and needs help obtaining a birth certificate so she can replace her ID. Others need food or toiletries or help putting together a security deposit to rent an apartment.
McLeod said donations to the Minot Area Homeless Coalition help those people and are welcome year round.