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New operator for Broadway Circle

Project Bee to take on family homeless shelter

Project Bee, formerly the YWCA of Minot, will be assuming the completion and operation of a family homeless shelter and low-income housing project through the City of Minot’s National Disaster Resilience Program.

The Minot City Council approved a subrecipient agreement with Project Bee on the Broadway Circle project Monday.

“We’ve made a lot of big changes,” Project Bee Director Liz Larsen said of her organization’s readiness to take on the project. “We were awarded some capacity-building grants from some of our larger funders, and so that allowed us to get more staff. More staff allows us to be better at our job.

“We’re doing great work. I can say with confidence that every single one of my staff members and every single one of my board members works hard for this organization and for our community,” she added. “Every single decision is 100% local. Folks in your community here in western North Dakota are making the decisions. We’re all your neighbors and we know the needs of western North Dakota better than anyone.”

Gerald Roise, representing The Welcome Table, endorsed Project Bee.

“We fully plan to work as a full partner with Project Bee to facilitate the food pantry and the soup kitchen as part of the project,” he said. “We’ll be front and center, working with Liz and her crew to make this thing work the best we can. I think it’s a golden opportunity for our city to make use of leveraged federal dollars and get a project done that’s been needed for a long time.”

John Zakian, Minot’s National Disaster Resilience Program manager, said a key requirement in a subrecipient agreement is that the nonprofit operator have the capacity to perform and the financial ability to carry out the projects. The operational plan must show the ability to sustain a family homeless shelter and 17-unit apartment complex.

“They have done that,” he said of Project Bee. He said Project Bee was one of three nonprofits to show interest but was the only one responsive to the requirements while showing likelihood of success.

Council member Carrie Evans advocated for flexibility for Project Bee to modify floor plans for the shelter to create full accessibility for people with disabilities rather than partial access.

Zakian said that flexibility exists but it would have to be accomplished with funds other than those from the NDR program. He noted the current design for the homeless shelter provides accessibility in common areas and in some of the units, which complies with requirements of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Larsen said 80 to 85% of Project Bee’s clients identify as having a disability, which can be mental, behavioral and physical disabilities.

“We need to be thinking of them,” she said. “It’s important for us that the entire shelter is 100% accessible.”

She said it will be important to work with construction professionals to determine the costs behind making that happen.

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