Non-profit supports more homeless children than adults

As her three children make their way through school this year with enthusiasm she says she hasn't seen before, a Beacon House resident who only wanted to be identified as "Trisha" says she has goals for their future.

"To keep good grades, graduate, and go to college, because I didn't graduate high school…and to get a good job,” she said.

It's a priority for staff and volunteers at the shelter too.

They work with Eau Claire public schools to get children living in the shelter in class quickly, and shield them from any potential embarrassment.

“A lot of our kids are younger, so they're pretty resilient to that,” said Executive director Kelly Christianson.

For older children, it will arrange to have school buses pick them up away from the shelter, so their classmates can't tell that they live there.

“We try to help the kids have as normal of a kid life as they can,” Christianson said.

Christianson says a poor economy has a big impact on its families, most of which are single-parent.

She also says almost every parent she's worked with didn't have a degree past high school.

"The Beacon House does a very good job of supporting the families all around to get them back on their feet again,” said Danielle Clasges from the Eau Claire School District’s homeless program.

“Trisha” says her children know that the state of the economy is why they have to stay at the beacon house.

“I just got a new job, so they have hope and I have hope,” she said. “I know it won't be for long."

It’s because she wants her family to build on the help they're receiving, so that they'll never need it again.

Eau Claire Interfaith Hospitality Network says almost 80% of its families find a place to live within 30 days.

It also says there will likely always be a need for its services in the Chippewa Valley.


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  • by citizen on Sep 10, 2010 at 08:13 AM
    It is totally needless to have families suffer from homelessness. I would only have to assume that some have been due to foreclossure or job loss. In the case of foreclossure, people should be allowed to remain in the home, as most of the houses sit empty anyway, due to the economy and real estate market. IF the home is sold to an interested buyer, then these people should have to look elsewhere for affordable housing. Once homeless, it is VERY hard to get back on their feet. Many Thanks to those that try to help these individuals.
  • by Sally on Sep 9, 2010 at 09:33 AM
    Way to go "Trish". You seem to have the right attitude, and I wish you all the luck in the world. You can do it! Please use the help while you have it, and pay it forward.
  • by Anonymous Location: eau claire on Sep 9, 2010 at 08:50 AM
    great program,more people need to open their eyes and know there is homeless children,teens,young adults,families,elderly. dont think it cant happen to you cause it can people wake up
  • by Anonymous Location: Eau Claire on Sep 8, 2010 at 05:27 PM
    This is a great program and wish more would support it.
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