May Letter from the Executive Director

May 28, 2015 | At Open Your Heart

They were the first to come to this land and today some of the poorest and most vulnerable Minnesotans live on Reservations. Essential community services and support – not to mention grocery stores and other essentials most of us take for granted – are often few and far between.2015 Leech Lake Photo Van

Homelessness is a chronic problem and last summer I visited an encampment on the Pow Wow grounds near Cass Lake on the Leech Lake Reservation. While these encampments seem to happen every summer, it has been particularly common in recent years and during my visit more than 100 men women, and children made these tents their home. So when word came that a shelter was opening near Bena we were happy to help.

Because the reservation is so large with a lot of remote areas, transporting homeless people from an encampment to shelter, and for helping them access needed services in nearby communities, Open Your Heart purchased a van for their use.

The new Lyman ‘Dede’ Losh House, named after a dedicated tribal member who worked so hard to bring this about, has opened, giving hope and opportunity to
homeless people in the area. At Open Your Heart, we recognize the importance of safe and supportive shelter in rural areas and small towns. Without them, those who become homeless usually must leave the communities they grew up in in order to receive basic services. But coming to the Twin Cities or Duluth, when2015 Leech Lake Photo home is somewhere else, doesn’t make sense. Most who become homeless want to get back on their feet in their own communities where they have support.

The leaders of the Leech Lake Tribal Community have brought an invaluable service to those most in need.Thanks to all in their community and for the donors to Open Your Heart whose support provided much needed transportation.