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Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal- February 26th & March 4th, 2024

510 S. Farwell St., Eau Claire WI 54701 • 715.835.3734 Map to the Cathedral

It seems that each time we write, we make note that the number of people we serve is growing. This journal entry is no different: the population continues to increase. One night we served 59 guests and the next night we served 63.  We're preparing for 70 guests per night, a significant increase from a year ago.  What is even more troubling is that many of the people we see each night are new to the street and unsure how to navigate their situation. At some point, will there be enough services to provide to the people in need? 
Pictured L to R: 
Julian Emerson, Andrew Werthmann, Mike Basford 
were chatting prior to CVSM activities.
We had some visitors one evening last week: Mike Basford, Director of Interagency Council on Homelessness from the State Department of Administration; Andrew Werthmann, Eau Claire City Council member; Julian Emerson, long-time journalist and homeless advocate.  The men, all who have shown support of the street ministry for several years, were with us to not only observe the Street Ministry in action but also to engage in conversation with the people we serve in order to better understand their challenges in our city. The night of their visit was particularly busy: we served around 70 guests.  When we arrived, there were people laying by nearby buildings; many people were waiting in line for food or other items; we listened to people expressing frustration over their day's events. Among the subjects that we discussed with our guests was our local hospital closures and the fallout we expect we'll see as a result of the ending of services: primarily mental health care but medical treatments, as well. We also talked to them about the shelter's capacity and what happens to our visitors when they can't stay due to the shelter being at their limit of guests. We appreciate the time our visitors spent with us and hope they gained knowledge and understanding from the experience. Interesting fact: because of Mike Basford and his interest in our organization, our journal was once shared with Governor Evers!  We were honored for the opportunity to share the stories and facts of our city's streets with our State's leader.
Cora - providing food and beverage to a visitor
When we arrived this day, there were people 
finding shelter near this building.
Brent - talking with a visitor that is accepting some snacks.
Occasionally, we'll have extra treats/snacks to distribute. They are
always appreciated by our guests. 
We spoke with a woman who has been using crutches for several weeks following a surgical repair of some ligaments. She is tired but opted for crutches rather than a wheelchair or knee walker in order to not have to transport more equipment while she attends classes at the technical college. She is more than half-way through her first semester and determined to complete the program.
We also had a visit from Chelsea from the Eau Claire Tenant Landlord Resource Center. We've connected to share resources for people in need and support one another's missions. Thanks, Chelsea!
Chelsea - Eau Claire Tenant Landlord Resource Center
Speaking to visitors about their day and any needs they have. 
There's a man that we've spoken with several times who is trying to manage several chronic conditions while living on the street, he concerns us. He has both heart and lung disease as well as deficits of other systems. He appears to be an older adult and quite vulnerable. He asked for boots and a blanket, both of which were available. Both chronic and acute medical and mental health conditions are difficult to manage without permanent housing. 
Please continue to keep our homeless friends in your thoughts and prayers.  While our needs list will be sent out soon, please be aware that we are in need of blankets and sleeping bags.  If you have any of these items that are in good repair and you are willing to donate them, please let us know.  Again, our needs list will be available soon with these and other needs.