MINNEAPOLIS -- A Minneapolis housing shelter that operates with a mission to transform lives of people experiencing homelessness could be on the cusp of its own transformation.
Simpson Housing Services is one of the top five national finalists for a $25,000 dollar IKEA kitchen makeover, as part of The Family Handyman magazine's "Rescue Remodel" contest.
Simpson shelter, which is in the basement of Simpson United Methodist Church, provides meals to 110 people every day of the year, and at night it provides 66 beds for men and women.
"If it doesn't look broken, I keep working with it. I would rather make sure we are using our money to get folks out of here, but the kitchen could use a little elbow grease and a little makeover," said Brian Bozeman, shelter manager.
Bozeman says the kitchen cupboards date back to 1911, a century of service that could now use a modern makeover. There is just one dishwasher to wash dishes after hosting 110 people for dinner each night. Bozeman says that's 15 cycles on one dishwasher unless the volunteers hand wash the mess.
"My dream kitchen would look like a new stove with some convection ovens and smaller range and a dishwasher so we can do the amount of dishes we need to get done in a proper amount of time. Also with some type of storage so they can dry properly," he said, which would help him more easily meet health sanitization codes.
Voting for the kitchen makeover is open to the public from now until March 30 at RescueRemodel.com.
"It's been incredible how quickly the word has spread about the contest. It's been on people's blogs, on church group email lists and it's really just spread like wildfire," said Aja McCullough Beers, Communications and Grants Manager for Simpson Housing Services.
Simpson is in the lead by about 8,000 thousand votes, but that could change quickly with the competition including a Wisconsin fire department and New Jersey after school program.
A winner will be selected on April 12 and the completed kitchen will be unveiled in The Family Handyman's September issue and on www.RescueRemodel.com.
Bozeman says it's an honor to be a finalist for the hard working volunteers, who put in the hours of 15 full time employees, and for the most deserving people of all, the men and women striving to get out of the shelter.
"The things they enjoy most are the hot meals we provide here," he said.
Consumers can vote once a day and will be entered for a chance to win a $100 IKEA gift card.
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