Dickinson to hold ‘Raise A Roof’ concert for homeless shelter funds
By Nadya Faulx
Hazen band Tigirlily, comprised of sisters Kendra and Krista Slaubaugh, is set to perform at the event, which will also feature a spaghetti dinner and silent auction to raise money for a future homeless shelter in Dickinson.
The fundraiser is the brainchild of Southwest Homeless Coalition Vice President Tana Johnson, who joined the organization in January.
She said she wants the concert to bring awareness to the problem of homelessness around southwest North Dakota, an issue that, while growing, is still often overlooked by the community.
Homeless individuals are sometimes hidden, Johnson said, staying in cars, with relatives, couchsurfing from friend’s house to friend’s house and sleeping outside.
“Just because you don’t see — visually see — the people, doesn’t mean that we don’t have a problem, or a challenge,” she said.
The event will be the coalition’s first major fundraising effort since it received nonprofit status in January, but Johnson said it’s “just the tip of the iceberg” in terms of fundraising campaigns.
All funds raised Thursday will go toward the coalition’s goal of bringing a homeless shelter to Dickinson, whether it’s new, old, donated or built, said coalition President Joe Wanner.
A number of local agencies, including the Amen Food Pantry, House of Manna, Stark County Social Services and Community Action Partnership, offer services to individuals and families in need, but there is no permanent housing option for the area’s homeless population.
“The core is a roof over your head; it’s the homeless shelter,” Johnson said. “We can refer all we want to other sources, but having a homeless shelter, and having a place for people that’s safe and they can get hooked up with resources better, a place to get back on their feet, would be very beneficial.”
The Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center is able to house women and children for up to two years, sometimes longer. Dickinson Churches United for the Homeless has provided temporary shelter to homeless men for two winters in a row, and its numbers — around 65 men took advantage of the service this past season — show the need for an established facility.
Wanner said he wants the event to be a way for the organization to get its name out “that we’re a viable program” directly addressing homelessness, especially as the oil boom increases the need.
“I don’t believe that (the community) have been exposed to this kind of organization in Dickinson yet,” he said. “They don’t know if anyone’s working on the issues.”
Kendra Slaubaugh said she didn’t know much about homelessness before she and her sister were contacted about the benefit concert.
“Now we know that it is a major issue and something we want to change as well,” Kendra Slaubaugh said. “It’s something we can look into and be aware of and make others aware of it as well.”
Johnson had just a month to put together the fundraiser, but she said the community has been gracious in helping and support the event.
“Raise a Roof” starts at 6 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are still available at both Dickinson branches of the Dakota Community Bank. Tickets will also be available at the door the night of the fundraiser.
For more information, people can look up the event at https://www.facebook.com/events/581975265248420.