Government Shutdown Hits Homeless Shelters

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A government shutdown could create a huge setback for Minnesotans who are already in need. Funding for some programs that prevent homelessness is no longer available.

People Serving People is an organization that helps the homeless get back into permanent housing. It won’t be directly affected by a government shutdown, but once people leave the shelter, they won’t have the safety net that the government once provided.

It’s moving day at People Serving People.

“It feels wonderful,” said Valencia Matthews, who is moving out of the shelter.

For Valencia Matthews, it marks the start of a new beginning.

“We’ve been here three months now, and it’s been hard to get started on our feet,” said Matthews.

But before the car was even packed, Matthews was already worrying about her future.

“It’s going to be rough,” she said.

A government shutdown has affected the rental assistance she’s relying on to move out of the shelter.

“I really am concerned and worried about everything,” said Matthews.

The same is true for the dozens of other families who have been able to transition from homelessness to housing.

“We will be low on money,” said Tina Sletten, who is moving out of the shelter.

The Slettens had planned on a dual income, but with state funding for child assistance gone, they will rely solely on Joey’s paycheck.

“There’s always a likelihood we come back,” said Joey Sletten.

To keep families from returning to People Serving People, the organization is now asking for donations and for volunteers to babysit, to help ease the financial burden.

“They are finally going out to be on their own, and they’re hitting these roadblocks along the way,” said Amy Jenkins, the director of development at People Serving People.

They are families who face an uncertain future, but are still happy to have made it this far.

“This will be nothing compared to what we’ve been through, before we got here,” said Tina.

More from Rachel Slavik
  • d kauls

    Suggest we put them in the state parks. They’re vacant now.

    • Rico Suave

      Great idea. Beats sleeping under a bridge. While they’re there they can clean the porta-potties and empty the trash barrels.

      • quentin

        I think you are expecting a little too much.

      • i cant belive these people

        WWWOOOOOWWWW i cant belive you said that.I know the slettens and people in the shelter ans they work very hard to get back on their feet.JUST IMAGINE IF THAT WAS YOU would you want to do that until you found a house?I dont think so.That is very very immature for you to say.

  • Dave

    I’m extremely happy for the SHUT DOWN. I’ll celebrate big for this event in July 4. We can’t afford to pay more tax keeping most of them there. I worked so hard just to keep my family alive.

    I want people who depends on government to know: THAT’S OUR TAX MONEY. Enough of BS and braindeads

    • drts

      Easy for you to say. I’ll bet you have a house, a car and some ambition.

  • True American

    I agree… enough is enough of the Govt handouts…..Time to cutback the budget since my household had to reduce our budget as well…No more free lunch~

    • people who write on this site are idiots

      I challenge everyone who writes such idiotic blither on this site to voluntarily bring in a homeless family and let them stay in your home. I challenge you to drive a homeless person and help him/her get out of poverty by applying for jobs. Anyone who doesn’t walk the walk is an idiot.

      • drts

        Would think about it except for the smells and the major mugging risk.

      • Mark from

        feel free to open your wallet, me not so much

      • Rico Suave

        You are a naive idiot. Ever done anything to help people yourself? I’ve actually taken people in off of Hennepin Ave who were “homeless” on at least 5 occasions that I remember (this was in the early 80’s). One woman had schizophrenia and refused govt. help. She literally wanted to line the room she was in with tin foil (I’m dead serious)and made peanut butter and onion sandwiches. No one could help her because she didn’t want it. The next pair of guys I took in for a while said they wanted to get work but could never quite get around to looking. The few bucks I’d give them got spent on booze (secretly) and I’d find the empties under my couch. Another street dude I took in for a few days, tried to pawn my new Norelco shaver for booze. Another guy my wife and I took in for awhile bounced from house to house among those at my church taking advantage of every-one’s kindness before we got wise and gave him the boot. There were others too. Try it yourself and learn that there is usually a reason people are in the situation they’re in. Then you’ll learn that your “help” is not what is needed. These people are players.

        So you want be kind to those less fortunate than us but not with your own cash or your own house or your own kindness. Your love for any kind of govt. help for others is rooted in your own guilt for doing nothing. You try to assuage your guilt by moralizing and telling others they aren’t doing enough. Then you want to force others to give till it hurts. I think you’re a fraud.

  • Joe

    Amazing how these people are unable to take any iniative and take care of themselves. The teat is dry so they better move….

    • David H.

      1) most homeless have more incentive to not be homeless than you have keeping your rude foolish cold hearted mouth shut
      2) With such a poor economic situation we are in there are many people who are homeless who would have never expected they wouyld be.

      This is sad – these people need help. Joe on the other hand needs more help.

      • Guy

        Wah wah … cry cry … they NEED help… How about they take care
        of THEMSELVES (or ask their family & friends).
        It is not MY responsibility to take care of others.

  • Katie

    You people sicken me. God forbid you have a run of bad luck, lose your job, get sick, and your house house goes up in flames and you may need a hand some day. Where is your compassion? Do you really think we should just let these people starve or die in the elements?

    • i cant belive these people

      finally somebody who cares

    • "Help"

      i wonder how many of these people on government assistance has an iPhone, high speed internet and cable at home, eat out at fast food and restaurants, has a new or newish car with payments and other extra luxuries .

      there is a difference between those who need legitimate help and those who are just lazy. i have no problem helping people if they really need it but some people abuse the system.

    • drts

      Years on the bottle is “a run of bad luck”. Just wish they were sincere with their ‘Will Work for Food’ signs.

      • Joe

        These people with the signs are severely mentally ill. Have a little compassion you creeps.

        • drts

          Been there, done that?

        • Guy

          These people with the signs are severely LAZY … and I have NO compassion for that.

    • two martinis

      On the plus side of letting them starve is that it reduces the crime rate without having to pay for incarceration..

    • Lori

      The elements? It’s not like it’s 30 below zero right now.

    • Me

      No – that would leave their disgusting corpses laying around for someone to trip over.
      They should go somewhere where they can be disposed of neatly without inconvieiencing anyone else

  • trl the alligator

    …well its time for the deadbeats to provide for themselves….no more gov’t to take advantage of and support their laziness….95% of these people are there for reasons that are avoidable if that person just takes some responsibility for themselves…..they should be the last ones to be getting any assistance beyond one or two weeks.

    • Mark

      You are a dangerous ignorant fool

    • Lori

      I work in a grocery store and I get SOOOO ANGRY because I see people who get EBT benefits for food and they are buying stuff I can’t afford and I’m working! I see people with smart phones buying steaks. I can’t afford a smart phone each month and I rarely can afford to buy steaks. I think it’s completely RUDE that people think they are entitled to these things while others are working and making decisions to not spend money on things they can’t afford. Maybe if they had some pride and made decisions about how to manage the money they do have, they wouldn’t need the government handouts. I’m not being cruel. I’m being honest and realistic. Why should people have to pay for others to freeload off the system?

      • drummer

        Lori: Here’s a useful tip that they use: have a bunch of kids out of wedlock. You’ll be able to buy steak regularly.

  • Compassionate in Minnesota

    Wow. You people are heartless.

    When you come into hard times, may others show you
    as much compassion as you show to others.

    • Ralph

      Some say you make your own hard times. I agree.

      • Cindy

        Amen, and those that don’t, we help.

    • Van

      I dont have any plans on falling into hard times I work hard and if I did lose my job I would go out and find a new one. Lets look inside the mind of those recieving govt welfare and asssitance….hmmm sit on my ass collecting free money or go out and get a real job. Im sure they all say they are looking for work but the truth is they are lazy and most are milking the system for all it is worth. The system is broke… how many grayhound busses come rolling into minnesota each month from chicago full of people taking advantage of our welfare system. Time to cut them all off and for them to get a job.

      • Your day will come

        Van, your day will indeed come and it probbly will. Problem is when it does come the only thing you will be able to do is commit suicide.

        • drts

          At least that wouldn’t cost hardworking taxpayers anything.

  • Rico Suave

    If you lose your job, you do what I did. Get another one. If your house burns down you call your insurance guy. If you’re homeless and can’t yourself together you do what most of them do. Stand on the corner with a sign that says “I’m homeless, please help” then you take the money and walk right by the free treatment center and buy more booze. That night you either go to a non-government shelter, or sleep down by the tracks under a bridge with your buddies. The next day you walk past the treatment center again

    • Compassionate in Minnesota

      Easy to say, harder to do.
      What is the unemployment rate now?
      My fiance looks for work, he struggles every day fills out application after application, and gets no calls back. Temp agencies do not have anything for him which is frustrating. I am thankful to have my job, because I can support my family (and him). I am not ashamed to say I used state assistnce to get back on my feet when we had troubld times hit my family.

      Not all people on state assistance are freeloading losers.

      • kevin

        We know that, but its time to take those that abuse off the dole.

      • Guy

        Maybe your fiance should have learned some skills so that he would be valuable to an employer.

      • Rico Suave rides!

        Well if you’re the entitlement class you’ll never figure out how to do what I did. But if you really want to know how, and you’re not just looking for sympathy and a hand out, here’s what you.
        1 – You might have to take a lessor position for a bit, or even 2 part time jobs.
        2 – You have to prove yourself in what ever you’re doing.
        3 – While you’re working 60 hrs a week at Home Depot and Office Max, you’re kissin’ butt and shooting for promotions.
        4 – Then when you’re looking for the job you really want you don’t “fill out” applications. You write a resume and show up in person. Pound the friggin’ pavement and beat the damn bushes.
        5 – Lastly you don’t get on unemployment and stay on for as long you can.

        It’s a safety net not a trampoline. Don’t be a loser. If you can’t make it in America, you can’t make it anywhere. Quit your crying and get to work. Too many of us have done it. It’s not supposed to be easy. It’s work.

  • Boozles

    Sick people posting very arrogant posts here. To those who post “If I lose my job or house I go out and get another one” I think you would be sadly disappointed when you found out what it is like trying to get a job right mow. You could always flip burgers but would that cover your mortgage? I didn’t think so.
    I hope no one loses their jobs or houses and I pray for those who are homeless and without a job. People need to quit being so envious of people who have so much less than they do. So what if they have an iPhone or a car or internet, do you wish to take every little comfort away from those who are destitute? You better take a closer look in the mirror and look at what you have become with your judgements.

    • fed up with freeloaders

      Yes I DO want to take away those little comforts because I have made the decision to do without them so that I don’t HAVE TO be on welfare!!! That’s totally messed up to think that it’s ok for them to have things that they don’t NEED while others who ARE taking low-paying jobs after being laid off from a good job make the decision to tighten the belt. That’s just WRONG!

    • Guy

      PAY OFF your house – no mortgage – no problem… of course you would have to do without … without your steaks ever night … without your iphone/ipads … without a new car ever other year… without that McMansion. Its called “living within your means”

  • God help the callousness I see

    I agree with Boozles. Sick people are indeed posting on this site. You do not know what you are talking about writing these posts. Homelessness, financial ruin can happen to all of us. The upheaval in the housing market is creating all kinds of upside mortgages which means that in the coming year there will be twice as many foreclosures than there are today. Anyone who has taken a 2nd mortgage to pay for a car should be warned that they may lose their home when job loss occurs. I am a republican but your callousness sickens me. God help us.

    • two martinis

      A second mortgage to buy a car? Probably shouldn’t have even gotten the first one.

  • Mr. Mustache

    The chickens have come home to roost. The Horn of a Plenty is now empty.
    As Walter Cronkite used to say ” That’s the way it is, July 1, 2011.

  • Debby

    I work hard for my money to keep all to myself and live in a big house away from any reality and have no heart or compassion for anybody but myself. Why should my money go to these people? Let me pull out some cold heartless comments from out my a$$

  • two martinis

    Face the facts. After the Bachmann family gets done taking its cut, there is not much left for the homeless. That’s the way God intended it.

    • Julie

      Bachmann is just as big a joke as Sarah Palin xD

  • Alfred

    The Dayton Shutdown is causing havoc for all kinds of people. But really, he wanted to increase spending 27 percent and give hundreds of millions of dollars to Zygi Wilf.

    How can anyone support that?

  • Stacy

    It does not matter what story WCCO reports the posts here attract those who have such extreme comments it makes me wondert if they are even real or not. If WCCO post pics of cute rabbits somebody will come out and say all rabbits need to be killed. I think I am going to skip reading these posts from now on.

    • drummer

      Some of the posts probably are over the top. But I think what you can sense is a great deal of anger from people who do things right. I know there are situations where good people run into bad times. But should people they don’t even know have to cover for them? That’s what family, health and disability insurance, second jobs, part-time jobs, lesser jobs, churches and charities are for. Not bureaucrats with access to public money and no accountability.

  • meow

    Thank you WCCO for allowing comments. I’ve been to other news sites and they just spew the news without giving the option online to comment. I love reading what people think and feel on here.

  • St Paul

    Our house is now in foreclosure and we are eating food from a local food shelf. I worked all my life and still this can happen to anyone. What happened to some people’s heart? Are there frauds cheating the system, yes, but most are folks who have hit rough times and need a bit of help. If we would all just try to do something to help out, we would be better for the journey. If all of these negative posters would just volunteer one day a month to help, they might just change their heart and mind. Thanks for listening.

    • sad but true

      Guess what, did that. Went to north Mpls with a buddy who does construction to help out after the tornado. VOLUNTEER our time to board up broken widows, tarp roofs, etc… Honestly, we pulled up on a street and there were 5 very hard working Republicans just sitting there, grill going, drinking 40″s and shooting dice next to the steps. We went into the next house and were putting up some poly on the inside, when my buddy came out, guess what???? yep, broken back window on his locked topper and missing was a 6 peice DeWalt cordless set of tools and a Skill saw with a 50ft ext. cord. Nice work!…there to help out just 1 day and look what happens. So I say….F’m…hope the next one is a F’ng f-5!!!

      • Anonymous

        Such a shame! But totally true! That whole area should just be leveled.

    • another negative poster

      St Paul, maybe you could volunteer to watch the welfare mamas EIGHT children.You are paying $3600 a month for her daycare. No wonder your home is in foreclosure. Your property taxes increase to feed the welfare beast.

  • sad but true

    …..Oh and on a side note, grill was still just going with no food on it and all the Republicans must have went back to helping the neighborhood, because they were all gone and didn’t see them for the 3 more hours we were there and filling out a ploice report.

    • drummer

      Think of all the money we undoubtedly have spent on them, from subsidies to prison costs. Nothing works. Yet state government wants more. What a plan. Make them dependent on the government and the occasional theft that does not require much effort. Pathetic.

  • the majority rules

    It’s quite apparent how Mpls feels about our overly generous welfare system. Minn is the most generous state IN THE WORLD for free hand-outs. I work with a single mom getting subsidized daycare, while the daddy pays no child support but still manages to go to the casino. Heck, she has better furniture than I do, and I’M paying her daycare. I raised a son by myself with NO help…yes, I’m angry too…..go back to Chicago!!!!!

    • another negitive poster

      Amen Sister!

  • SnowFire

    It appears that the real issues here have to do with the failure of the programs our tax dollars go to regarding helping the needy. I think we all want to help the truly needy but we have little tolerance for wasting tax dollars in the process. The fraud side of this has never been solved and it is always reduced to funding or not funding an all or nothing plan. Our politicians are unable to solve the real issues – vote them out and tell them why!

  • DeBlog: Is The Government Shutdown Painful Enough? « CBS Minnesota

    […] This weekend the shutdown didn’t negatively impact a single aspect of my life. Other than the concern I have for my friends who are out-of-work state employees, and my friends at People Serving People — a homeless shelter we did a story on last Friday. […]

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