EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – The Sojourner House homeless shelter in Eau Claire is coming up on one full year of providing 24-hour services for those in need. First News at Nine’s Phoebe Murray shares how it’s managing a higher volume of people this winter, and what’s on the horizon.
The state’s subzero temperatures are leaving homeless shelters overcrowded and overwhelmed.
Kiana Schoen, Sojourner House Coordinator said, “Currently we’re running about 75, last week we were in the high 90’s up near 100.”
Forcing the Sojourner House location on Barstow Street to temporarily reopen to offer 24-hour service for three days, to accommodate overflow from its larger facility on Claremont Ave.
Sojourner House Coordinator Kiana Schoen says with the frigid temps hopefully behind us, the shelter is looking to move back to their pre-COVID hours April first, solely providing a night-by-night shelter.
“People will be able to come into our facility and check-in at 7 pm and they will stay overnight have meals, and showers are provided laundry,” said Schoen.
Check-out is 8 a-m the next day. Schoen says they’re pushing a more service-based model, working to get Eau Claire’s homeless population back in permanent housing, as soon as possible.
Schoen said, “Now that we’re trying to bring in more resources, and just really actively sitting down with people, on an individual basis and making plans for them, we want to push back at that and see those numbers decrease as quickly as we can.”
Schoen recognizes community help is the only safety net some of their clients have.
“It’s important from us, from Catholic charities to say we are grateful, and you know we feel supported by our community, and I think that’s exactly what we need to do to come together, to deal with the issue of homelessness in this community, because it really is a community issue,” said Schoen.
Looking towards a warmer, more hopeful tomorrow.
In Eau Claire Phoebe Murray First News at Nine.
Catholic charities and the Sojourner House shelter say they are always looking for volunteers to help out around the facility.