Homelessness in North Central Wisconsin - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Homelessness in North Central Wisconsin


WAUSAU (WAOW)--"We had no money so.. we stayed in the car with the dog, said Ann Mattson.  Ann, like many Wisconsinites knows the harsh reality of what it's like to be homeless. We met her at the Salvation Army in Wausau, which provides shelter and other basic necessities for the needy. Ann is now working with Open Door, one of many community agencies aimed at helping the needy.

 And the numbers are growing. Nicole Klingensmith of the Salvation Army in Wausau says,"We are seeing more and more people and more families. "

  Statewide more than 17-thousand people in our state spent the night in an emergency shelter in 2010. Until the economy improves, experts don't expect to see a great decline in those numbers.

  Jeff Sargent of North Central Community Action says,"There is homelessness here in Central Wisconsin.  It is closely tied to the loss of job and affordable housing. There may be issues of domestic violence, which force a person to leave, there may substance abuse or mental health issues. There are many things which bring people homelessness."

  He adds that there is often  a difference between rural and urban homelessness, "Rural areas tend to hide it more. In this area we find a lot of "couch hopping," that is staying with a friend and moving around from friend to friend for a place to stay. 

  Some stay in shelters. But, as the weather warms, they may be found in other areas. Wausau Police Chief Deputy, Bryan Hilts says, "Our officers can find them in the parks camping, in parking garages and  laundromats."


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