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Waukesha Common Council approves giving $16,000 to Hebron House's overflow shelter

Debated on what role city should have in helping fund a non-profit

Jan. 7, 2014

Without any public assistance, it's been a financial struggle each year for the Hebron House of Hospitality's men's overflow shelter.

It was once again this year.

As a result, leaders from the Waukesha-based homeless shelter came to the city at Tuesday's Common Council meeting asking for additional financial support.

While there were concerns from many aldermen as to what role city tax dollars should play in funding for a non-profit organization, the Common Council approved allocating $16,000 for the Hebron House after a 10-5 vote. 

Aldermen Eric Payne, Joan Francoeur, Peter Bartels, Steve Johnson and Joe Pieper voted against giving money to the overflow shelter. 

The motion was originally for $20,000 but Alderman Aaron Perry lowered that amount by $4,000 since Hebron House has raised more money for the overflow shelter since it was last discussed at the Finance Committee a few weeks ago.

Chris Lambert, Hebron House's director of financing, said the shelter could get by with $16,000 and that he is confident the organization can raise an additional $9,000 that it needs to stay open through the end of the winter. 

Representatives from downtown Waukesha churches pleaded with the Common Council on Tuesday to assist the overflow shelter this year. Typically, these area churches help fundraise a good portion of the cost needed for the overflow shelter. 

The Hebron House operates its overflow shelter at the old Northview School, 1721 Northview Road.

It appeared, however, this fall that Hebron House couldn't operate its overflow shelter (it houses 35 men at night beginning in December) at that facility due to a lack of fire code regulations.

But thanks to a collaboration with United Way in Waukesha County and its commitment to find a long-term answer to homelessness in the area, Fire Marshal Brian Charlesworth granted permission for temporary use at that facility.

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