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Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer Six Russian visitors, part of the Open World Leadership Center program, are in Bemidji this week observing a variety of social services facilities. One of their stops on Monday was at the Village of Hope, a homeless shelter for families. Pictured above, Village of Hope executive director Sandy Hennum, center, describes the shelter to Anna Vladimirovna Silayeva, left, and Svetlana Aleksandrovna Mareva.

From Russia with questions: Group touring Bemidji to learn more about social services in America

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BEMIDJI — Homelessness here in America is the same as homelessness in Russia.

“Poverty and the homelessness problems are all the same,” said Yekaterina Sergeyevna Tolstoles, speaking through a translator. “They are just as topical (in Russia) as they are here.”

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