Meeting Women’s Needs

Hope Gospel Mission aims to add facilities for homeless women, children

Barbara Arnold

If all the stars align this summer, Hope Gospel Mission will be the first organization in the Chippewa Valley to have an overnight shelter for women and children. Two Hope Renewal Centers for Women with Children, both on Frank Street in Eau Claire, would open in fall 2019, and offer a long-term program to change their lives. The mission has purchased two buildings for the project, but volunteers for renovations and approximately $1.35 million are still needed.

Turning away a homeless single mom with children is one of the most gut-wrenching experiences workers at Hope Gospel Mission have, according to Executive Director Sandi Polzin. Each month, three to four women with children who need help not currently provided are turned away by the organization.

Providing a safe and stable home for homeless women with children was identified as one of the greatest unmet needs in fall 2018, when about 150 people in the Chippewa Valley met for a homelessness summit. Currently there are about 400 homeless school-age children in the Chippewa Valley; children younger than age 4 or 5 are hard to track.

The two buildings – previously Care Partners Assisted Living & Memory Care facilities – are just across Clairemont Avenue from the Hope Gospel’s new men’s center.

The Hope Renewal Center for Women with Children, 2320 Frank St., will have 11 units, each with two bedrooms and a bathroom. Shared spaces include a kitchen, dining room, and common areas for study, play, socializing, or quiet time. Meals will be provided, and those in the program will work toward independence and self-sufficiency.

The Hope Renewal Center for Women, 2306 Frank St., will be for single women. It will expand the capacity for the Renewed Hope Program from 12 to 14 units. Each woman will share a bedroom. Shared common areas include a kitchen, dining room, and bathrooms as well as common areas. Ruth House, which currently offers the “Rescue, Rebuild, and Renew” program for women, will be converted for the Discipleship Transitions Program for women.

For more information about these programs, or to contribute, visit hopegospelmission.org