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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