Area Organizations Discuss Changes Needed to Ensure Shelter’s Future
On Monday, Mayor Chris Meyer organized a discussion that took place at City Hall about the future of the Marshfield Family Shelter.
In attendance were community, City, and County officials. Representatives from nine different organizations, including Personal Development Center, Compassion in Action, Marshfield Area Community Foundation, Marshfield Area United Way, Mary’s Place, Wisconsin Rapids Family Center, and Marshfield Police Department, were also present. Currently, there are three organizations with an interest in operating the shelter.
Discussions included how each respective organization could play a role in either operating the shelter or assisting the operator to function well.
St. Vincent de Paul Board members reported drug, alcohol, and domestic abuse issues, which are not unusual to homeless shelters, but which they are unable to handle under the current setup.
Wood County Human Services Director Brandon Vruwink explained how the county could help transition residents, and reiterated the prevalence of safety issues in shelters statewide.
Mayor Meyer reinforced the need of a homeless shelter in the community, but acknowledged that first there are issues that need to be addressed.
“Ultimately, it comes down to a number of issues. Money, we have to find a way to fund a service like this, and we have to figure out how to provide the services that are really needed,” said Meyer, listing those such as resume building, job training, and AODA treatment in some cases.
“Unless you can provide those services, you aren’t going to really help those people transition back into the community,” he said. “So there are a number of things that have to be done to preserve what’s already there, but then there are a number of steps to actually make the facility and the operation something that is going to be beneficial to the community… That’s going to take some time, but there are a number of people working on it.”
The shelter will likely be closed for some period of time. Starting tonight, each of the three organizations will begin meeting with St Vincent de Paul individually to pitch what their plan would be to run the shelter.
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