A Community Accomplishes What It Is Committed To
By Susan Wolfgram, Co-Chair of the JONAH Affordable Housing Task Force
November is Homelessness Awareness Month in Wisconsin. There can be no fairness or justice in a society in which some live in homelessness or in the shadow of that risk while others cannot even imagine it–but we must imagine it. We must imagine what our brothers and sisters experience when they are forced to live and do their best to survive on our unforgiving streets for 11 hours with no warm and safe place to be welcomed until Sojourner’s opens for the night. The Eau Claire Community has accomplished providing a safe and dignified space for our neighbors experiencing homelessness, the Community Haven House, opened in December of 2021 through the combined effort of community stakeholders, Catholic Charities, and our City Council investing in our most vulnerable. Our JONAH Affordable Housing Task Force has played a central role in facilitating this effort. On Wednesday, November 2, 2022, Community Haven House opened the doors for a few hours each day, with the goal of being open 7 days per week when Sojourner House is closed, 8am-7pm.
These limited hours each day are a “first step”; we need staff to increase the hours. Please consider applying Here.
Our mission is radical hospitality, the practice of putting extraordinary effort and emphasis on making people feel welcome. This relational approach focuses on breaking down barriers that prevent people from participating in the community. This space is not only a reprieve from our unforgiving streets, but a space, unlike the library, where you are not watched–a place to just be, and to be in community with others. Yes, the answer to homelessness is housing; however, housing can take a few years to obtain with long waiting lists. While our neighbors are waiting, they need to have a welcoming and safe space off the streets and the supports necessary to obtain housing.
Community Haven House was always intended to be the temporary bridge to a Day Resource Center which is moving forward with broad community support with a November 2025 target date and is currently in the process of forming a 501c3.
SAVE THE DATE: We are having an Open House on January 18 from 4-6pm. We welcome you to break bread with us and learn more how you can assist in sustaining this welcoming space as well as supporting the larger project:which has as its long-term goal of housing for everyone.
Follow Community Haven House on Facebook Here.