You will never see a more thrilled Executive Director than me watching the UPS guy pulling up to deliver a year’s supply worth of drug tests!! Thank you to the Minot Area Community Foundation for providing the YWCA with funding to purchase these tests. Many people who are living in Minot, and especially those who run various programs, will tell you that they have seen a prevalent drug problem with potential clientele. Because of the YWCA’s implementation of drug testing, we have seen a dramatic increase of success for those homeless women who want something better in their life. The YWCA’s Board of Directors and the very small team of staff members can be proud of the level of service provided and by our shelter program. We can say we are proud of the women who are successful in finding jobs and housing in the community of Minot, and who can say that they were not influenced by drug/alcohol use and the chaotic lifestyle that can accompany that behavior. At the YWCA shelter here, we have already seen a total of 7 failed drug tests for women really needing our services. This does not count the number of calls that we have had from potential residents who admit over the phone to not being able to pass a drug test and therefore cannot utilize the YWCA services. We have seen a variety of different drugs come up in our testing. The sad reality is that women are not getting the services they need due to addiction. Minot has a select few places we can refer those who cannot get into the YWCA, but often times they do not follow through. It’s probably hard enough to admit to using drugs to a stranger, and then to have to go somewhere else and tell another stranger can be really overwhelming.
I am sharing this story because in the 2 short years that I have been the Executive Director here at the Minot YWCA we have gone from allowing anyone to utilize our services in the hope that clients will come in and consider our facility as community living and therefore abstain from drug use, to now requiring a negative drug test result before intake. To hope that residents simply abstain is not realistic, as addiction is a bigger beast than people may realize. Since the implementation of drug testing, yes, we have seen a decrease in admissions, however the outcomes and the success rates far outweigh numbers. We did still serve 109 women and children last year, more than 2014.
Now, homeless individuals that come to us for help can be guaranteed a safe, quality place to live for their children and be given the opportunity to better their lives in all ways possible including holding clients accountable for their behaviors. Again, THANK YOU to Minot Area Community Foundation for helping the YWCA remain a drug-free, alcohol free environment that works to empower homeless women and their children! We could not succeed without your help!"