Fargo shelter named for Ray
Fargo's new emergency shelter will be called the Gladys Ray Shelter after a woman known for her tireless efforts to help homeless people. Ray, who died Feb. 24, 2006, at age 73, worked for years with a coalition seeking a drop-in shelter, said Su...
Fargo's new emergency shelter will be called the Gladys Ray Shelter after a woman known for her tireless efforts to help homeless people.
Ray, who died Feb. 24, 2006, at age 73, worked for years with a coalition seeking a drop-in shelter, said Susan Helgeland, executive director of Mental Health America of North Dakota.
"Her passion was for people who were on the street, who could not and would not be accepted in other shelters," Helgeland said.
The city of Fargo is remodeling a building at 1519 1st Ave. S. for the shelter, which will be run by an Emergency Shelter Advisory Board.
During a recent trip to see construction progress, the board decided on the Gladys Ray Shelter, said Helgeland and City Commissioner Linda Coates, both board members.
Coates said she does not believe the name needs city approval because the shelter is a private entity.
Ray was a member of the Milles Lacs Band of the Ojibwe nation.
She moved to Fargo in 1954.
Ray advocated a range of causes and people, including American Indians and children.
According to her obituary, Ray was involved in the development of Indian Education programs at Fargo Public Schools, the Fargo-Moorhead Indian Center, Good Medicine Indian Health and Ray of Hope, a drop-in shelter that operated from February 2006 to summer 2007.
Helgeland said that shelter was also named for Ray.
"Naming the (new) shelter after her would be a real honor and a real legacy for her because she worked so hard in this community," said Prairie Rose, chairwoman of the city Human Relations Commission.
She grew up near Ray and considered Ray a mentor.
The shelter is expected to be completed in February. A separate detox center operated by Centre Inc. will open in the same building later this spring. The estimated cost for both is $684,500.
City commissioners on Monday will be asked to approve a contract for the advisory board's choice for the shelter executive director.
Jan Eliassen of Glyndon, Minn., would receive about $50,983 a year under the three-year contract. The position would be funded with a grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation.
Eliassen would start Jan. 28 and report to both City Administrator Pat Zavoral and the shelter board.
"It's something I have passion about," she said. "It's something I think has needed to be addressed for a long time."
Eliassen said she currently works for Path of North Dakota, coordinating crisis stabilization and social detox for adolescents with alcohol and drug issues.
She is a licensed social worker with a master's degree in management and human relations.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Andrea Domaskin at (701) 241-5556 Fargo shelter named for Ray Andrea Domaskin 20080113