“The response was overwhelming” with offers of assistance for family facing homelessness

By Al Stanek
Whitewater Banner volunteer staff
December 12, 2020

A request for volunteers to assist a local woman facing homelessness has produced an overwhelming response according to the director of a local organization dedicated to providing transitional housing and case management to Whitewater families.

Kristy Weinberg, Executive Director of Bethel House, told the ‘Banner’ that she is not normally prone to tears but that the response to last week’s request changed that. “My day began with tears of joy just one day after an article appeared asking for volunteers,” said Weinberg. “The response was overwhelming.”

An area single mother of three reported purchasing a modest trailer home in spring and paying a workman to make improvements including wiring, plumbing and furnace repair. The workman abandoned the project and the family found themselves in an unheated trailer as winter weather approached. Her outreach to Bethel House resulted in responses that included a local remodeling contractor, a heating contractor, a local cabinet store, and a dozen or more offers of remodeling and/or financial assistance along with a contribution of insulation.

The working mother and her three children are being housed in one of Bethel House’s transitional housing units. The remodeling project is currently being evaluated to determine the best approach to assisting the family.

Bethel House is a Whitewater non-profit operating out of the First Congregational Church and overseen by a volunteer board representing eight area churches. It relies on financial assistance from churches as well as grants and individual and corporate contributions. As well as transitional housing, Social Worker Weinberg and interns from the UW-Whitewater Social Work program assist families with a wide range of counseling and support. The organization currently operates seven transitional housing units, all of which are currently occupied. They also provide emergency financial assistance for families at risk of homelessness.

Weinberg indicated that local transitional housing needs often exceed demand especially in the winter months. Cash and other contributions are always welcome according to Weinberg. Information is available at the Bethel House website (www.bethelhouseinc.org) or by calling 262-473-2715.

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