Partnership is helping people find housing and support in the Chippewa Valley

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 9:12 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -For people with a criminal record, an eviction in their history or who struggle with mental health or addiction, finding a place to live can be a challenge.

A partnership is working to help these community members get another chance.

C.C. We Adapt is a group that provides peer support and mentorship for people dealing with addiction or mental health issues. One of the founders of that organization is teaming up with an area landlord to get people housing, so then they can tackle those other challenges.

A place to call home. For those who work with people dealing with mental health or addiction, it’s one of the first steps to a new start.

“If you’re on the streets, if you’re fighting for survival, you’re fighting for the most basic needs, there isn’t even a possibility that you’re going to address any of the other things that could possibly pull you out of the situation and lead to some kind of sustainable wellness in your life,” said David Carlson with C.C. We Adapt.

It’s a struggle Carlson knows personally having experienced homelessness three times in his life.

Now he uses his story to help others with peer support through C.C. We Adapt.

Part of that help: finding housing.

“I had too many participants that had no place to live, and you know, last winter is a prime example of you know we have 20 degrees below zero, I can’t wait a month to get someone a voucher to move into a place they’ll maybe find two months later,” Carlson said. “That - 20 that is present tonight, that’s not going away, and that individual could freeze to death.”

After trying to get help from different agencies and groups, Carlson decided on a different approach.

With the help of Nick Brunner, an area landlord, they created Next Generation Properties. They own homes to provide a place to live for people who would normally struggle to get housing.

“The participants we deal with are a lot of the applications that are normally rejected in a normal property management scenario,” Brunner said.

Brunner said he’s seen how the mentor program has helped.

“If you’ve tried helping out people, and you’ve got burned out on it before, try again,” Brunner said. “If there’s peer mentorship, or if there’s somebody willing to go in and offer some accountability and some help along the way, it can change the entire dynamics of that relationship, so if you’ve been there, done that, don’t give up on it because people want to be better. People want to help themselves.”

By bringing housing and support together under one roof, Next Generation Properties is hoping to provide that opportunity.

Carlson and Brunner started Next Generation Properties last year. They started with one home and now have three properties with plans to keep expanding and serving the community.