Simpson Overnight Shelter
2740 1st Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408
612.874.0306 Office hours: M–F 3–5 pm
- Women must attend the women's shelter lottery on Wednesday afternoon at 3 pm, or may call 612.871.1138 at 5 pm for one of seven nightly beds . Women enter through the 1st Ave door.
- Men must attend the lottery on Monday night at 6 pm.
Shelter hours: Daily 5 pm to 9 am. All guests must leave by 9 am.
- Nurses, social workers, a psychologist, and veteran's outreach workers are available Monday through Thursday.
The shelter provides a bed to 44 men and 22 women every night of the year. The men's and women's sleeping areas are located in separate areas of the shelter. The evening meal is served at 7 pm.
How to get a bed
Women must attend the women's shelter lottery on Wednesday afternoon at 3 pm to receive a bed for 28 nights. There are also a small number of beds available on a nightly basis. To reserve a nightly bed, call 612.871.1138 at 5 pm and/or 9 pm. Women enter through the 1st Ave door.
- Guests must arrive by 3:00 pm.
- Beds will be given out for 28 days (4 weeks).
- If you cannot attend the lottery, you can call 612.871.1138 by 3:30 pm to have your name entered as a call-in. You must then call back after the lottery to see if you have received a bed.
Simpson Shelter holds a combined weekly lottery every Monday night for men seeking a bed. St. Stephen's Shelter and Our Saviour's Shelter also participate in the lottery.
- Doors open at 5 pm.
- Guests must arrive by 5:30 pm.
- Guests should not arrive before 4:45 pm.
- Guests must be completely sober at lottery and will be breathalyzed. You do not need an I.D.
- Beds will be given out for 28 days (4 weeks).
There are representatives from all shelters present to staff the lottery and provide resources. Once a guest loses his bed, he will need to wait four Mondays before being eligible to try the lottery again. People who are restricted from Simpson will be able to participate in the lottery to receive a bed at St. Stephen's or Our Saviour's Shelters.
Simpson Savings Program
The Simpson Savings Program secures a longer-term bed if a shelter guests turns over 40% of their income (minimum $400 a month) to Simpson for safekeeping. Last year over 45 people who used this program saved enough to move into permanent housing. Last year, advocates moved over 90 men from the shelter into permanent housing.
Shelter Manager Brian Bozeman describes the Overnight Shelter
Q & A with Brian Bozeman
Simpson Housing Services’ Shelter Manager knows the people we serve
Brian Bozeman has been with Simpson Housing Services for eight years, starting out as a part-time advocate in the men’s shelter. Currently he is the manager of both the men’s and the women’s shelters and has an up-close perspective on the lives of those experiencing homelessness.
Q. So Brian, tell us how the shelters work.
A. The Simpson Shelters are open from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., 365 days a year. Every Monday we hold a lottery with St. Stephen’s and Our Saviour’s shelters and the guys vie for any open beds that we have. The women’s shelter works on a first come-first served basis.
Q. Where do our shelter guests go during the day?
A. When it’s nice out, a lot of our guests will spend the day outside. Or if it’s very hot, $1.50 will buy you two and a half hours on an air-conditioned city bus. Many will roam the skyway system in the winter or spend the day at the public library where they’ll usually be left alone. Many of them go to jobs, sometimes leaving the shelter as early as 3:30 a.m.
Q. The Simpson shelters (as well as partner shelters St. Stephen’s and Our Saviour’s) are known throughout the community as friendly places that treat their guests with respect. Talk about that.
A. The shelter advocates learn the names of all the guests and that is how we greet them every night, treating them as individuals.
Q. Do you sometimes find that respect is what the people need the most?
A. A little respect can go along way. Over half of our people suffer from chemical dependency or mental illness. We work under the Housing First/Harm Reduction model. Give people a safe place to stay, offer them support systems and then help them with the other issues.
Q. How do we help them with the other issues?
A. We have a nurse and a mental health counselor at the shelter every Thursday night and a county social worker every Monday and Thursday night. Our advocates will work with the guests to help them get into stable housing.
Q. What are some of the barriers that keep our guests from finding housing?
A. Many things, no rental history or a criminal record. Even petty crimes can keep you from getting housing. Not having a permanent address scares a lot of landlords and it is hard to find a job without an address or phone number. It’s hard to get an apartment without a job, so it’s easy to get caught in a vicious circle.
Q. Through the years, have you had any encounters that have stuck with you?
A. There was the time an old boss of mine showed up at the shelter. When he recognized me he left. I also remember a volunteer at the shelter who recognized one of the guests as a teenage friend of her son.
Once I ran into a guy who had stayed at our shelter maybe four years earlier. He was doing really well and came over to me with a friend of his. He wasn’t ashamed of what he had been through. He said he wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for the shelter. I remember a lot of the meal groups. Many good people though the years.