On any given day, there are over 5,000 people in Wisconsin without a place to call home. They are sleeping in shelters, in cars, under bridges, in caves and in storage units. Some may be sleeping in transitional living projects.
Homelessness is a statewide issue, affecting every county in Wisconsin. Of those 5,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night, 67% are located in a county other that Racine, Dane, and Milwaukee (which are the largest population areas).
Rural areas have unique challenges to addressing homelessness. Services are difficult to access due to a lack of transportation and distance. Where there are emergency shelters, they may be small and at capacity. The use of homeless vouchers is based on limited community-based funding and availability of motels.
However, rural Wisconsin does offer many unique partnerships to assist homeless families with housing as well as skills to move them out of poverty. For example, the state funds local providers to offer homeless services and perform outreach to clients who are homeless. Services include, emergency shelters, one time rent assistance, short term supportive housing, permanent supportive housing, utility payments, transitional housing and assistance in accessing other mainstream resources. In addition, private donors and private foundations offer additional funds to provide the needed case management to assist clients in maintaining housing stability.
Locally, in Burnett County, the Faith House Shelter serves homeless persons. Last year, Faith House provided almost 2,000 nights of peaceful sleep to the homeless in Burnett County. Faith House Shelter is located in Siren and can house two homeless families at any given time. The shelter remains full. Faith House also helps in providing case management to programs like permanent supportive housing and transitional housing programs. To learn more about our local homeless shelter and the programs Faith House offers, visit www.safaithhouse.org or follow the Burnett County Salvation Army on Facebook.
This is the season where you can give to help. The local Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign begins November 15th. Sign up to help the Salvation Army raise funds for their efforts to help the homeless. Sign up at www.registertoring.com or by calling 715-497-4438.
Submitted by: Angela Moulton, Burnett County Salvation Army
Healthy Minute” is brought to you by healthyburnett.org