Positive Avenues, Sojourner House Create 24-Hour Homeless Shelter
pandemic fosters collaborative effort in Eau Claire
At one time, Catholics and Lutherans were pitted against one another. Now, they’re joined together in a common cause against homelessness through a new 24-hour homeless shelter in Eau Claire.
Positive Avenues, operated by Lutheran Social Services, joined with The Sojourner House, operated by Catholic Charities, to create the 24-hour shelter to help people experiencing homelessness amid the colder months of the year – and the pandemic. They officially moved locations from a temporary site at Hobbs Ice Arena to their new location, 1031 W. Clairemont Ave. (formerly Hansen’s Market), in October.
Our long-term goal is to have the best resources in one place for individuals experiencing homelessness.
POSITIVE AVENUES MANAGER
From April 2 to Dec. 1, roughly 400 individuals used the 24-hour resource, according to Tim Muma, public relations specialist for Positive Avenues. About half of those individuals were new participants. In addition, about 38,000 meals were provided.
Cots are placed 6 feet apart to ensure individuals are a safe distance, Positive Avenues Manager Katie Petska said. Face masks are required, common areas are frequently disinfected, and there are sign-in and sign-out sheets so contact tracing can be made easier.
The facility offers resources such as socks, underwear, soap, laundry facilities and supplies, showers with shampoo and conditioner, blankets and bedding, meals, first aid assistance, and other necessities.
In addition to servicing physical needs, Positive Avenues also works with individuals who may be experiencing mental health struggles. Staff at the shelter are being trained on suicide prevention, crisis training, and other ways to help the communities they serve. “Our long-term goal is to have the best resources in one place for individuals experiencing homelessness,” Petska said.
For more information about the 24-hour facility, visit cclse.org/the-sojourner-house and www.lsswis.org/LSS/Programs-Services/Mental-Health/Resource-Centers/Positive-Avenues.