Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Cold, winter weather will be here soon enough. It can be a dangerous time for people who don’t have consistent, reliable shelter. With November underway, the Catholic Charities Warming Center is now open.
It’s a place where people who don’t have a place to stay can have a warm meal, take a shower, and do some laundry. Center coordinator Johnny Wadzinski says the shelter is there for anyone who needs it.
“They’re humble people that have dignity, and deserve respect, and are human beings…they’re in this situation due to traumatic experiences, mental health issues, sometimes poor choices.”
The Warming Center isn’t the only place the homeless can find help…Daniella Fohr says assistance is also offered through the salvation army.
“We can serve up to 35 people in our shelter, individuals and families, we also are branching out to scattered-site hotels, so we have eight current hotel vouchers at any given time at various hotels, so we can serve families in that way.”
Both the salvation army and catholic charities need volunteers to help the homeless, which can be an eye-opening experience.
“A lot of people shrug them off as a nuisance, and I see a lot of people when they start volunteering here change their perspective.”
To help attract volunteers, the two groups will be part of a job fair at the Reach Services and Resource Center this Friday. The fair is aiming to fill paid and volunteer positions to support those dealing with housing insecurity.
“We continue to work with our partnering agencies, along with the city, to work on winter sheltering options for this year and also longer-term solutions to ultimately reach functional, zero homelessness in La Crosse.”
The La Crosse city council will also be voting this week to put 700,000 dollars of American rescue plan funds towards winter shelter operations. Catholic Charities is also accepting clothing donations at its warming center, which can be dropped off every Monday and Wednesday from 10 am until 5 pm.