Connections Shelter is back for its 6th season

Connections Shelter is kicking off another season.
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 7:41 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2022 at 7:48 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Connections Shelter is kicking off another season.

Monday afternoon, they opened their doors to house men, women, and families.

They are expecting a busy season.

“We are already full and have a waiting list. So we know that the need is really high, this year,” said Erica Koser, Pastor of Engagement and Care at Connections.

This year, Connections added five more beds to the shelter, as well as opening a new drop-in space, and adding a new outreach worker to the team.

“Our street outreach worker will be going out and meeting with people who are experiencing homelessness who maybe aren’t able to get into the shelter yet, or do not want to come into the shelter. So provide some care for them,” added Koser.

In Minnesota, the annual Point-In-Time Count found that around 8,000 people experienced homelessness on a single night back in January 2022. Thanks to places like Connections, 78% of them were able to be in shelters.

“We know mental health is rough right now for everyone across the board. So for those who are teetering on a kind of brink, often we’re seeing more of that. Addiction continues to be a big issue in our community,” Koser explained. “We see the homelessness through that. So yeah, we are definitely seeing an uptick. Most of the calls of people that are coming in right now are from right around this area.”

Connections says its goal is to keep the shelter open all year.

“It highlights the need that we need to go year-round. We hope that we don’t have to talk in seasons for too much longer. We can just have years that are open,” said Koser.

Connections offers shelter during the night, while the Salvation Army holds shelter during the day.