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Other views: It’s time for city to help homeless

Williston Herald

It is time for the city, churches to act to help the homeless

Winter weather is returning to Williston, and when the snow and cold temperatures hit, the homeless will still have no place to stay.

One year ago, those in the greatest need were able to stay at Concordia Lutheran Church, but the church was forced to close its overnight program because it did not meet the city's safety codes.

Since then, churches in the community and the city have been working to come up with a plan that would allow the homeless to stay in churches during the worst of times.

But as the snow falls, no official action has been taken to help those who have no place to stay.

Without a shelter, many of those who cannot afford the rent prices in the city have been forced to leave.

But others are risking their lives to keep their jobs and maintain the hope that Williston offers.

We applaud Mayor Ward Koeser and the city for taking an interest in helping the homeless.

We also say thank you to the churches and pastors who have said those in need can sleep in their facilities.

But the reality is as winter weather hits, nothing official has been done.

Before the churches can open their doors and provide a safe, warm place to sleep, the city commission must first pass an ordinance allowing it.

Passing the ordinance will require two readings, which will require two meetings. The commission is scheduled to meet two times in December. If the ordinance passes at both meetings, the churches would be allowed to open their doors around Christmas.

That would be a great Christmas gift to the homeless in our community, but it might be too late to help everyone.

An issue like providing housing for the homeless is not an easy one. But it is important, and it is one that needs to be dealt with immediately.

As the snow falls this weekend, let it be a sign that it is time to act and time to act quickly.