Downtown-based First Covenant Church Minneapolis will relocate its approximately 60-bed shelter to St. Olaf Catholic Church during the Super Bowl, it announced in November.
The church will continue to offer all of its services at St. Olaf for the four nights, Lead Pastor Dan Collison said. He said they plan on using the moment to amplify how they provide service to people who are homeless, adding that the Super Bowl Host Committee is a partner in the work.
“We feel like we’re trying to leverage that moment to tell our story,” Collison said.
First Covenant has since 2010 operated a homeless shelter out of its building, which is adjacent to U.S. Bank Stadium. The church operated a six-month winter shelter until this year, when it began working with St. Stephen’s Human Services to provide a year-round shelter. The church expanded to a year-round shelter after looking at its entire system and considering the needs of the community, including women, who are uniquely vulnerable, Collison said.
First Covenant’s shelter is co-ed but is intentionally geared to be mostly women, Collison said. St. Stephen’s provides professional staffing, wraparound services and on-site social work. Over 80 groups bring in meals and have people who serve as volunteer advocates.
Collison said people who use the shelter are fearful about the disruption the Super Bowl will cause, noting the stress people who are homeless already face. He said that fear needs to be engaged with accurate information, noting that being outside of the secure Super Bowl area will be quieter and more amendable to getting sleep and rest.