Two Bismarck non-profit organizations have been awarded funding totaling $25,000 through the Better Bismarck fundraising campaign. Ministry on the Margins and Heartview Foundation were selected from a pool of eight organizations to receive Better Bismarck funds. Ministry on the Margins will receive $17,000 while Heartview Foundation will receive $8,000.
“The purpose of this funding is to streamline and improve services for individuals in crises experiencing chronic homelessness, addiction and behavioral health issues in the City of Bismarck and the applicants who will receive funds will do just that,” said Bismarck Mayor Mike Schmitz.
Ministry on the Margins will utilize the money to support costs associated with operations for their low-barrier coffee house. The coffee house was launched as a pilot project in February 2022 to provide a safe place for individuals to find rest and get out of the elements. The estimated need was for 10-15 people per night, but a year later the number served has grown to 50-75 people per night. This coffee house works in collaboration with area law enforcement, West Central Human Service Center’s Crisis Unit, local medical centers and addiction treatment centers to provide a place of safety for individuals experiencing homelessness, addiction and behavioral health issues. Current coffee house operating hours are from 10 PM to 6 AM.
"Bismarck is blessed with many nonprofit organizations serving our homeless community,” said Ministry on the Margins Executive Director Sister Kathleen Atkinson. “We are grateful for the support of the Better Bismarck initiative to help Ministry on The Margins focus on those who are in greatest crisis among us.”
Heartview Foundation will utilize the money received to purchase a methadone pump. Methadone is a medication used to treat Opioid Use Disorder. Heartview Foundation specializes in opioid treatment and staff are specifically trained to assist individuals experiencing Opioid Use Disorder. The purchase of this machine will help streamline how individuals receive doses of the medication used to treat Opioid Use Disorder, allowing individuals to detoxify and manage withdrawal symptoms.
“Heartview’s Opioid Treatment Program has an outstanding record of success, with participants reporting an increase in employment, better mental health and a lower likelihood of overdose,” said Heartview Foundation Executive Director Kurt Snyder. “As the opioid crisis continues to grow, the program is growing exponentially, and this funding will allow us to better serve the community.”
Better Bismarck is an initiative created by Schmitz to serve as a fundraising mechanism that will address root causes of crisis homelessness: addiction and mental health issues. Better Bismarck began accepting donations in November 2022 and individuals and groups interested in donating may still do so. 2022 donations were also matched dollar-for-dollar by funds the City received from multi-district litigation related to opioid manufacturers and distributors.
“As our community grows, so does the need for services for individuals in crises,” said Renae Moch, Public Health Director. “The Better Bismarck funds will help organizations address the critical needs of individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, addiction and mental health challenges. I am grateful for the generosity of our community which was key to the success of the campaign.”
For more information about the Better Bismarck campaign, visit the City of Bismarck website. If you are interested in donating additional money to the campaign, text BetterBis to 801801 or visit its donation page.