A forum will be held tonight to discuss ongoing efforts to address homelessness in Chippewa Falls.
The forum, sponsored by the Chippewa Council on Homelessness and Hunger, will begin at 6:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 130 W. Central St.
The discussion will focus on discussion of issues that impact the ability of individuals and families to maintain affordable permanent housing.
The group includes representatives of the Family Resource Center, the Chippewa County Housing Authority, veterans groups, faith-based groups and others.
Tom Diel, a social worker with the Chippewa County Recovery Wellness Consortium, said that aside from the forums to broaden the discussion to include the public in the Chippewa Falls area, the groups meet monthly at the Legacy Center.
“It’s kind of a cross section of different nonprofits and providers in the community,” Diel said.
The group has been working together for about six years, since the closure of the nonprofit Starting Points created a gap in services for the needy and homeless.
They put on two forums in the fall and a third in January was canceled due to weather.
Diel said so far they’ve had good turnout from the community.
Thursday’s meeting will continue to follow up on the working groups formed to address the specific issues they identified.
Among the identified problems is a lack of affordable housing, a lack of an organization to be a central point of intake for people seeking assistance and information and the lack of an emergency shelter in the area.
Though a temporary overnight warming area was made available during some of the most severe weather this winter, there is no permanent area.
Diel noted that while there is money available for motel room vouchers, the funding is limited.
“We’re really going to focus on emergency shelter,” Diel said.
Member organizations are coming together to fill the other needs as well.
The Legacy Community Center helps provide services in a coordinated manner.
That includes a food bank, coordinated intake services to help people find and get referred to services and Agnes’ Table.
A project of the Chippewa County Council on Homelessness and Hunger, Agnes’ Table serves free breakfast three times a week and dinner twice a week.