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Warming shelter to host second sleep out

The event will kick off from 5-7 p.m. Nov. 7, at the The Woods.

Warming Shelter exterior.
Warming shelter Friday, April 22, 2024, in Brainerd.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
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BRAINERD — Brainerd’s warming shelter, now named The Bridge on 7th, opened its doors for a second season Sept. 15 and is getting ready to host its second sleep out event to raise awareness and funds.

As November is National Homelessness Awareness Month, Bridges of Hope invites the community to participate in the event set for Nov. 7-10. It will kick off from 5-7 p.m. Nov. 7 at The Woods, during which time the community can learn about the shelter’s first season and plans for this year. Those interested should RSVP to info@bridgesofhopemn.org with their name or call 218-825-7682.

Opened in December 2021, The Bridge on 7th is open from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. seven days a week for those 18 and older. The shelter served 78 people in its first season, with a majority of guests from Crow Wing County. The 20 nights of sleep provided for people outside the County were primarily for those coming out of the jail and waiting for a bus after their release.

So far this season, the shelter has hosted 44 guests, 35 of whom are new to the shelter since last season. As of Oct. 19, the shelter had provided 394 safe, warm nights of sleep for those who are otherwise unsheltered. The Bridge on 7th is averaging 10 guests per night, with the busiest night being 19 guests so far this season.

“Our guests have been incredibly thankful,” Shelter Director Ann Hunnicutt said in a news release. “They are just looking for somewhere safe to get some sleep. Some are with us many nights and others just a night or two. We have a few guests who get up at 3-6 a.m. and leave the shelter to get to work for the day.”

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For more information on the shelter or the sleep out, visit bridgesofhopemn.org .

“We are humbled by the positive community response we’ve received since opening The Bridge last December,” Bridges of Hope Executive Director Jana Shogren said in a news release. “The community has stepped up with supplies and financial support. It’s clear our community cares about our neighbors in need. We can’t believe the shelter is nearly full some nights and the snow hasn’t even fallen. We are preparing for a busy winter.”

Individuals, churches and businesses are welcome to inquire about volunteer opportunities at The Bridge on 7th. Interested parties can contact Hunnicutt at ann@bridgesofhopemn.org to learn more.

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