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Sojourner House is prepared to help those in need of shelter as temperatures drop

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 9:31 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Today’s powerful snow storm means the Sojourner House in Eau Claire may be seeing more people looking for a warm and safe place to stay.

As temperatures drop and heavy snow starts to fall, not having a stable living situation can become dangerous.

Kiana Schoen, Sojourner House Director told WEAU,

“To be honest people have to be resourceful, they have to get creative, and really people are staying outside.”

According to the Hope Gospel Mission, 27,000 people in Wisconsin experience homelessness each year.

“It’s not safe you know. We know just from walking in from our cars you know in and out of stores this is not a place to stay so the reality is without the sojourner house they are left outside,” said Schoen.

The new location along West Clairemont Avenue in Eau Claire is averaging over 50 guests per night.

Schoen says the numbers stay consistent throughout the year and they don’t see in increase in guests during the winter,

“What we have seen in the past is that we have guests who seek out more permanent shelter during the course of the winter.”

The Sojourner House is able to put in place an overflow capacity for those who don’t have any other options. a procedure that has been more difficult this year - when the temperatures do get dangerously low.

“We will have to set people up in a way that they’re still spread and spaced out because you know we can’t compromise the health and safety of everyone staying with us,” Shoen said.

She also says they had to get creative to make space. and they are always looking for employees, and volunteers.

“We have information on our website and we have a volunteer coordinator who works with different groups and individuals who want to come and volunteer whoever they are.”

This month last year the Christ Cathedral property in downtown Eau Claire announced they would be opening its doors to those in need as a warming center.

Their website says they will be operating from December to March, and they anticipate ten to fifteen guests each night.

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