Nonprofits Housing

Haven House Will Have a New Home for the Holidays

day shelter for the homeless finds temporary digs in former pawn shop

V1 Staff, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

Community Haven House's former site, 502 S. Farwell St., was sold in November, and the shelter moved out this week.
Community Haven House's former site, 502 S. Farwell St., left, was sold in November, and the shelter moved out this week. By the end of the month, it expects to make its way to a longer-term temporary site inside a former pawn shop, 412 Washington St.

The Community Haven House will have a new home for the holidays – albeit a temporary one.

The daytime shelter for those experiencing homelessness in downtown Eau Claire will move into a building at 412 Washington St. – which was previously occupied by C&C Pawnbrokers – within the next two weeks.

For the past two years, the daytime warming center has operated out of a former church building at 502 S. Farwell St., but last month that building was sold and Community Haven House was told it would have to relocate. Services at the Farwell Street site ended on Tuesday, Dec. 12, and restarted temporarily – and with more limited hours – the following day at Sojourner House, 618 S. Barstow St., which typically only serves as an overnight shelter.

On Thursday, Dec. 14, Susan Wolfgram – chair of the Community Haven House Advisory Committee – announced that the former pawn shop on Washington Street had been leased and will begin operations “in approximately two weeks.” Wolfgrfam credited the efforts of Billie Huffed, the City of Eau Claire’s project manager for planning and housing, and Amber Cernohous of Acquisition Realty & Development, and other community partners for making the new location possible.

“Yes, it has been really hard and really messy; however, we continue to put one foot in front of the other with commitment and real, sustained effort,” Wolfgram said. “A community achieves what it is committed to, and this community is committed to safe and dignified sheltering for those experiencing homelessness. No human being should be expected to survive on our unforgiving streets.”

While Community Haven House is operating out of Sojourner House, hours will be limited to 10am-2pm Monday through Saturday and 10am to 4pm Sunday. The shelter’s occupancy will also be limited to 15 people.

Once the shelter moves into the Washington Street location, however, hours will return to 8am-noon Monday through Saturday and 8am-5pm Sunday. Likewise, the capacity will increase to 40 guests.

Wolfgram noted that the Washington Street site is still meant to be temporary. “Community partners continue to pursue purchasing a building for the permanent Community Haven House Day Resource Center,” she wrote. “The DRC will provide daytime sheltering but will also have a full complement of community partners providing holistic support services in collaboration with the services provided at Sojourner House.”

To donate to help the Eau Claire Community Haven House, visit When you’re there, click on the “Make a Gift Button,” then on the “Designate to …” line, where you can select “Eau Claire Community Haven House.”