Area Briefs


MOORHEAD – At a time when individuals and households throughout Minnesota are experiencing hardships in numbers never seen before, Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless (OYH) Foundation is working hard to ensure their funding reaches those in need in every corner of the state.

In their most recent summer funding cycle, Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless has granted Churches United for the Homeless with $6,500 to help increase their shelter capacity.

Churches United for the Homeless was formed in 1987 by a group of eleven local faith groups out of the old Bethesda Lutheran Church. They provide safe shelter, stable housing, nutritious food, and a path toward healing to neighbors in need. Funding from Open Your Heart will provide Churches United for the Homeless with new beds and bed frames in additional family spaces, addressing the uptick in the number of families needing shelter. The beds from this grant will furnish these new rooms with the equipment necessary to set guests on a path toward healing.

Since 1986, the Open Your Heart Foundation has ensured that emergency shelters, food shelves and domestic violence shelters throughout Minnesota have the tools, equipment and infrastructure necessary to best serve those in need.

Open Your Heart awards funds every three months and provides emergency support within days during a crisis. They support programs in communities where many traditional funders do not reach – food shelves, domestic violence shelters, and homeless programs in small communities and sparsely served remote corners of the state. Through this direct support, Open Your Heart helps these organizations provide safe and dignified environments for people across Minnesota.

For more information about Open Your Heart, grantees or the grant application process visit To learn more about Churches United for the Homeless, visit


ST. PAUL –  Senator Kent Eken received the Tim Flaherty Legacy Award from the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) on July 28 during the Coalition’s three-day summer conference in Red Wing. The award is given, upon retirement, to legislators, city leaders, or other advocates who have shown exceptional leadership and proven to be a strong pillar for Greater Minnesota communities throughout their career. The award is named for long-time CGMC Executive Director Tim Flaherty, who retired in 2019 after leading the organization for more than 30 years.

Sen. Eken, a Democrat from Audubon, will be retiring from the Legislature after his third term at the Minnesota Senate. First elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2002, Sen. Eken has had an impressive legislative career spanning two decades. He has been a leader in the fight for several CGMC priorities, including funding for clean water infrastructure and the BDPI Grant Program in the bonding bill. He was also involved in ensuring several water and wastewater regulation bills were equally beneficial to Greater Minnesota cities.

“Sen. Eken has consistently been one of the CGMC’s “go-to” legislators on Greater Minnesota issues,” said Pat Baustian, Mayor of Luverne and President of the CGMC. “He is never afraid to roll up his sleeves and dig into important issues. We are grateful to have had his hard work and ongoing support of rural priorities at the Capitol.”

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