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Pillars uses grant funding to invest in bunk beds, case manager position at adult shelter

Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 4:28 PM CST
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - A Fox Valley shelter recently made investments that allowed major progress during an otherwise tough year.

“Everything we do at Pillars kind of reflects the inherent dignity and worth of a person,” said Joe Mauthe, Executive Director of Pillars.

Which is why the organization wanted to use a portion of the Community Development Block Grant it received from the city of Appleton to purchase 50 new bunk beds for its adult shelter in Appleton.

“It’s amazing how having your own space, even if it’s a bunk bed, that’s still good for your self esteem and your sense of worth,” said Mauthe.

Mauthe says clients getting to have their own space, as opposed to before when they slept on the floor with mats, has also led to an overall change in atmosphere at the shelter.

“We’ve had a lot of appreciation from clients, but we’ve also noticed that in a shelter setting, everything is a little calmer and a little more peaceful,” said Mauthe. “And I think that’s a reflection of the dignity that comes with even having your own bunk to be able to have a little bit of your own space.”

The bunk beds also allowed Pillars to increase capacity again, after having to decrease it when the pandemic first started.

“Putting bunk beds in place allowed us to safely use our space well and get back to capacity so we could continue to serve to the level the community needs it,” said Mauthe.

The beds took about $30,000 of the grant. The organization used about $50,000 to create a new case manager position.

“They’re there to help the clients we serve make progress. To look forward instead of look back,” said Mauthe. “That case manager allows us to let this experience of homelessness hopefully be rare and brief, and move onto another chapter in that client’s life. Ultimately opening up a spot so we can serve the next person who needs a little bit of help.”

Mauthe believes these investments will move Pillars forward in its mission - helping people in need get back on their feet.

“It’s been a challenging year on our team, on our community, on the clients we serve,” said Mauthe. “So having these extra measures and being able to make progress is really important for us and for the community at large.”

Learn more about Pillars and how you can support its shelters at the organization’s website or Facebook page.

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