Community answers YWCA Minot’s call for help

Submitted photo YWCA Minot Resident Manager Liz Larsen is shown in the YWCA shelter laundry room assessing the damage Wednesday.

It started with a water bill for $2,000 for YWCA Minot. Executive Director Meghan Von Behren immediately knew there was something very wrong with the shelter. They had sewage problems before but they thought they had them solved. After looks from the city and a plumber, the leak was not found.

“Last Tuesday, it found us,” Von Behren said. “It flooded up here on the main floor, came into the hallway. It came into our conference room and the ADA accessible bathroom, and downstairs it was raining.”

Water was pouring in the YWCA downstairs shelter laundry room and bathroom. The staff quickly jumped to clean up the water infiltrating their building. The water coming in was on its way to the sewer, so there were concerns of bacteria and mold for the shelter. On Wednesday, Nov. 6, a post was made to the YWCA Facebook page, explaining the situation and calling on the community for help.

“A contractor called us, Jon Grundstrom, and said that he’s willing to donate his time and kind of help us fix it up,” Von Behren explained. “The same day, SERVPRO came to our door and said, ‘How can we help?'”

At first, Von Behren was concerned about one wall and figured that would need to come down and be replaced. After inspection from Grundstrom and SERVPRO, the YWCA needs two walls replaced, flooring ripped up in the laundry room and flooring dried in the bathroom. If the bathroom flooring cannot be dried, it will also need to be ripped up and replaced.

Submitted photos The community has rallied around the YWCA to donate their time, efforts, supplies and funds to help fix the leak that caused flooding the in basement and on the main floor of the facility early last week.

“When they were going through all of this, I was freaking out,” Von Behren said. “We’re a nonprofit. We don’t have these giant, large budgets. It was something that, on top of this $2,000 water bill, we didn’t know if we could solve.”

The shelter has provided 4,000 nights of shelter for women and children in the Minot area so far this year. Von Behren and the YWCA staff were concerned they weren’t going to be able to make the necessary fixes to continue to provide a safe drug-free, violence-free facility.

“Liz and I, our resident manager, were sitting in here and I got a phone call from Ryan (Conklin) with SERVPRO and he said that he was going to donate all of his materials, labor and efforts for free,” Von Behren said. “Then Jon called me and said he was going to do the same thing.”

In addition to the help from Grundstrom and Conklin, the shelter has received over $2,300 from its post on Facebook asking for help. Community members have also volunteered at the shelter, helping them clean, rearrange and take stock of their donated items and calculate what they need.

SERVPRO started work at the shelter Monday and estimated their demolition and clean up will take two days. Grundstrom will then get to work on construction and rebuilding at the shelter. Von Behren estimated the shelter would be back to normal order in about two weeks.

“I just really want to thank the community, not only the construction crews that came in here but the community as a whole,” she said. “On Facebook, the responses were amazing. The day after that all happened, we had probably 15 people come in here and volunteer.”

To learn more about how to help, visit the YWCA on Facebook @YWCAMinotND or contact the shelter at 838-1812 or ywcaminoted@gmail.com.


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