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Family Promise of Waukesha County is in the process of implementing a new shelter program. This program would be in addition to the Apartment Shelter Program. Since it is a new endeavor we prepared a Q+ A of questions you may have. If you are interested in speaking with us about the program, the involvement of your organization or yourself please reach out to

Q. What is a static shelter?

A. A static shelter means that we will offer shelter in a stationery facility as opposed to asking families to rotate from congregation to congregation. The Apartment Shelter Program is considered a scattered site shelter model.

Q. Why is it necessary to start a new shelter program?

A. The number 823 is the primary reason. This is the number of referrals we made in 2022. The need to shelter families experiencing homelessness continues to grow. A child should never be without a home. Secondly, we know that the best response to homelessness is one that involves the community. Helping families move out of homelessness quickly is a benefit to everyone. Using this site will allow community organizations, faith communities and businesses to support their neighbors in need.

Q. What will determine if this idea becomes reality?

A. There are two factors:

1.]Do we have enough organizations who partner with us so that we can cover the crucial 5-8pm time slot every evening.

2.]Do we have enough funding to pay for the increase in expenses?

Q. Where will the new shelter be located?

A. We will lease a facility from the Housing Action Coalition of Waukesha County. Currently it is used as additional shelter space during the winter months. It is vacant for the remaining months. The facility is an old fire station located on Sentry Dr in Waukesha. It would be about a half hour drive from Oconomowoc.

Q. When will the shelter open?

A. We will get access to the building on April 10. We plan to have families in the facility starting April 24. Preparing the space and in-person training sessions will happen in the facility over the course of those two weeks.

Q. How many families will you shelter?

A. The shelter capacity is five families.

Q. What is the facility like?

A. Each family will have a suite that includes a bedroom and their own bath. There are two shared living rooms/lounge, a commercial kitchen, cafeteria, and two areas for laundry. See the map below.

Q. Will Congregations provide volunteers?

A. Yes, but we would also hope our partners will include businesses, civic groups, social clubs, book clubs, schools, sports teams, youth groups, etc.

Q. What does the commitment involve?

A. We are asking for groups to commit to one recurring day each month (i.e. the third Wednesday of every month) to provide a meal and hospitality.

Q. What if we cannot commit to every month?

A. We would pair you with another group to work cooperatively.

Q. What would our organization do each month?

A. Your task would be to provide a meal and hospitality from 5-8pm. The meal would be served at 5:30pm. Following the meal would be time to be present to the families.

Q. Where do we make the meal? What does a meal include?

A. You can make it at the shelter or bring the meal already made with you to the shelter. We are asking for a group to provide an entree, side dish and vegetables.

Q. What does offering hospitality include?

A. Your task is to be present to the families. Hospitality could include playing games with the children, tutoring, listening and offering affirmation to mom or dad. Hospitality is characterized by openness, positivity and support. Actual tasks could be different each time you serve. There might be times where the families are tired and will go to their room. The main task then is to just make yourself available to families in the shelter.

Q. How many people do we need to provide?

A. We recommend 3-5 individuals. These individuals can serve from 5-8pm or you can break the time from 5-8pm into two 90 minute shifts with two groups of volunteers from your organization.

Q. Who is in charge when we are there?

A. There will be a trained lead volunteer in charge of the shelter. A Family Promise staff member will be on-call on weekends and after business hours.

Q. Will we be trained for our role?

A. Yes! Any volunteer who has direct contact with a guest is required to go through training and have a criminal background check completed. Training will consist of two online sessions. Each session is broken up into modules so you can do that at your own pace. It must be completed before you can move on to the in-person training session. These sessions will be held at the site.

Q. Who can volunteer for our group?

A. Anyone who is 16+ and has gone through the training. Those over 18 must have a clean criminal background check.

Q. What if a volunteer is under 16?

A. Volunteers between the ages of 12-16 can come with a youth group of 3-5 individuals with two trained adult leaders. Anyone under age 12 can participate with a trained parent or guardian. We encourage families to volunteer together.

Q. How do I get my group involved?

A. If you are a returning congregation we recommend participating in an information session. See options on our event page.

New groups can also participate in an information session but we would like to meet with you in person to discuss your involvement.

To take the next step contact Maria, our program coordinator.

Q. What are other ways to get involved if we cannot commit once a month?

A. If your group wants to help but cannot commit once a month here are some options:

  • Provide a hot breakfast on Saturday or Sunday

  • Collect food items such as lunch items, grab and go breakfast items, beverages, milk, or dessert.

  • Offer to help a fifth day of the month

  • Collect supplies such as hygiene or baby needs (Since needs are always changing please check with Maria before starting your collection.)

Q. When will you make a decision

A. Hopefully the grant funding will be realized and groups commit asap. Then we can officially move forward. We will not go past March 20 without a decision.

Q. What costs are associated with the program?

A. The costs associated with this program are additional staff, rent and utilities, supplies, etc.

Q. Can we donate to help?

To help us financially you can also share this information with your network or ask businesses if they would be interested in becoming a Family Promise sponsor. For more information contact:

Q. What if the program does not get the necessary funding?

A. We are committed to serving families experiencing homelessness. If we are unable to begin this program we lease more apartments to the Apartment Shelter Program. Apartments can be added when we are able to afford them and do not include on-site staff.

Secondly, we will continue our plans to implement a transitional living program. Transitional living will allow us to work with a family longer and support them in developing a stronger financial foundation. We believe helping families increase their earning power is the best way to lift themselves out of poverty especially in the current housing market.

Third, we will initiate new ways to include volunteers in our current program.

Q. Any last words

A. Yes! Since the rotational model was suspended in March 2020, we have tried a few different ideas. Some have worked well, others have not come to fruition. Most importantly we want to convey to you our commitment to serve families experiencing homelessness and to empower them to escape poverty. Housing is an essential need and a building block to success. Close to 70% of families exit our shelter to permanent housing. Our ultimate goal is to move families from shelter to housing as quickly as possible to give them and their children the best chance for success.


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