We are excited to announce the start of our new program providing shelter and assistance to families experiencing homelessness in Waukesha County.
Scheduled to open at the end of April, the new Family Promise Community Shelter will be set up in the building owned by the Housing Action Coalition of Waukesha County located at 1210 Sentry Drive. The space has been used as the winter overflow shelter for people experiencing homelessness from November through March since 2018.
“The Housing Action Coalition is excited to begin this partnership with Family Promise and our Board is confident that it will make an immediate impact on families experiencing homelessness,” said Joe Pieper, Housing Action Coalition board president. “Partnering with Family Promise keeps the building alive, vibrant and serving an important role in keeping people housed.”
The Family Promise Community Shelter will provide temporary housing for five families at one time, with the purpose of helping them achieve permanent places to live.
“We are excited for this new program because of the many partnerships throughout Waukesha County, this program represents a grassroots, community response to the needs of families experiencing homelessness,” said Joe Nettesheim, executive director for Family Promise of Waukesha County.
Family Promise currently leases five single family apartments that are used to provide shelter to families and single women. Adding the new shelter program will allow the nonprofit organization to double its ability to respond to more families and stem the impact of homelessness.
“Working with the Housing Action Coalition, and all of our partners, is the type of cooperation needed to have an effective, community-wide response to homelessness. Shelter is not the answer to homelessness. It’s an opportunity for families to stabilize. The solution is permanent, independent, affordable housing-which is lacking,” added Nettesheim.
Community Response to Homelessness
Before Covid-19, Family Promise staff partnered with 28 faith communities within Waukesha County to provide shelter to families experiencing homelessness. The new community shelter will once again offer opportunities for community volunteers to help their neighbors in need by providing warm meals, fellowship and more.
Partner organizations consist of businesses, congregations, and civic groups, including Green Bay Packaging, Shorewest Realty, QPS Employment, ProHealth Care, Oconomowoc Rotary Club, St Bartholomew Episcopal, Waukesha Stone Soup Project, Vernon Evangelical Lutheran, Highview Estates Neighborhood and Family Impacteers, and the list is growing.
“The need for shelter and housing assistance has been growing. While wages have increased, the cost of rent and basic needs have risen at a faster pace,” explained Nettesheim. “In 2022 our shelter was at capacity for most of the year, and as a result we made over 800 referrals to other agencies who were also often full. This is a temporary program as the shelter will return to the Winter Overflow in November, but it will make a difference in the lives of the families who find shelter.”
For information about how organizations and individuals can volunteer at the new Family Promise Community Shelter, visit www.familypromisewaukeshawi.org/become-a-partner.