Taking shelter: Ashland’s new home for the homeless to open by year’s end
The shelter will be built by the Northwest Wisconsin Community Services Agency, or NWCSA, on the property currently occupied by the Ashland Motel.
The NWCSA currently offers a program for homeless people and families in the city that provides them with one-night hotel vouchers.
NWCSA CEO Millie Rounsville said she hopes the new shelter can be an upgrade to the current system by providing homeless people with a more steady solution.
Ashland Mayor Debra Lewis said Rounsville and her organization have been trying to build a shelter for years, but the pandemic provided a unique opportunity.
“The group came together quickly around the idea that a 24 hour emergency shelter was needed. The closest shelter to us is in Superior,” said Lewis.
The city approved $700,000 in grant money for the NWCSA, all coming from state pandemic relief funds.
Rounsville said they want to have the shelter ready to go soon, once the sale of the property is finalized.
“We’re hoping all of that work, as well as the training of staff and volunteers can be done in 60 days or less,” she said.
She acknowledges the new shelter won’t fix the homelessness problem entirely, but it should make a big difference.
“Obviously we know we’re not going to alleviate homelessness for the entire community just by creating the shelter, but having a resource available for those families, those kids that need to go to school,” she said.
The new shelter will offer long-term resources to people who stay there in hopes of getting them off the street and back on their feet.
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