Community support saves Barron County’s only homeless shelter - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Community support saves Barron County’s only homeless shelter


Barron County (WQOW)- It's inspiring to see what can happen when a community pulls together.

Benjamin's House, the only homeless shelter in Barron County, announced just a few weeks ago that its funding had dried up and the shelter would be closing.

"I thought that it was done.  I really did and it was a hard realization to come to," admits Case Worker Christy Madison.  "But as we got more and more support and more and more funding and more and more people stepping up saying what can we do to help, it kept that hope alive and it kept us going."

Those donations continued to add up.  More than $100,000 in all that will keep the shelter open through the rest of the year; which is a good thing, because surrounding shelters are filled to capacity.  So residents living there would have found themselves out on the street once again by the end of the month.

The shelter's board will meet within the next week to formulate a plan when it comes to finances so this doesn't happen again next year.  That plan is expected to bring costs down while bringing donations up.

The shelter had to lay off most of its staff, but the donations will help restore some of those jobs.

"We will be bringing back some employees shortly and taking new residents shortly and going forward with a new chapter," explains Executive Director Stephanie Thompson.

"I haven't had the official word yet so I'm still waiting, still nervous about that, but still very excited that there is hope and that I could have my job back because I love it," smiles Madison.

"This past month has really shown that the community does support us and they do believe we need a homeless shelter," Thompson says.

Right now, it costs about $20,000 a month to keep Benjamin's House operating.  At the upcoming board meeting, members are going to try to figure out the best way to cut down on costs to avoid running into a similar situation down the road.

Here's one example of the generosity:  the employees of Adventures Restaurant stayed open for an extra four hours last Sunday and donated proceeds during those hours to Benjamin's House.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WQOW. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's pubic inspection file should contact News Director Dan Schillinger at 715-852-5920. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at