A little more than a week after the former Northview Elementary School/West Suburban Christian Academy building was partially demolished, two local organizations have announced that what remains of the structure will once again become a winter shelter for the homeless.
The Housing Action Coalition of Waukesha County and the Salvation Army of Waukesha confirmed Thursday, Dec. 8, that they will partner to reopen a 25-person overflow shelter at the now-defunct school at 1721 Northview Road.
The news comes just days after a portion of the Northview school building was razed. Sources said at the time that the future of the property, which housed a homeless shelter for five years through Hebron House of Hospitality, was uncertain.
The shelter, at the southeast corner of Northview Road and Grandview Boulevard, will open on Jan. 1 and operate through April 30, according to the Housing Action Coalition. It will house men.
The shelter will offer personal sleeping space; breakfast; bathroom and shower facilities; transportation to and from the location; and an array of support services, such as job and housing searches, mental health services and alcohol and drug abuse counseling, to assist guests in gaining independence and stability.
HAC staff said they are also raising funds to provide motel voucher stays for women and children. Individuals who use those vouchers will receive all of the same services as those provided at the shelter.
The Salvation Army, a longtime HAC partner, will provide shelter management and additional services, Salvation Army spokesman Andy Smith confirmed.
The shelter will be open seven days a week from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Local social services organizations have long recognized and identified homelessness as a serious and ongoing problem in the city.
According to HAC, Waukesha County currently has 126 shelter beds available to homeless people, but that total does not meet the need. Hebron House employees told Waukesha Now last year that the problem is under reported and probably requires more attention than its receiving.
Hebron House previously ran the Northview shelter out of the old school's gym from 2010 to 2014, after West Suburban Christian Academy shuttered. That school took over the Northview Elementary property in 1995.
The HAC is urging people to donate – money or supplies – to the shelter. Donations can be dropped off at The Women's Center, 505 N. East Ave., or be made online through the shelter's new GoFundMe page, www.bit.ly/2hbuY6l.
A donation of $30 can shelter one individual for one night, the organization said. It's also seeking clothing, toiletries, bedding, disposable dishware and silverware and a variety of non-perishable food items.
Hebron House also announced last week that it had made another 18 beds available temporarily in its three facilities in response to the forecast last weekend.