Conversations over Coffee: Pillars Shelter Programs

Conversations Over Coffee Email (1)

December 5, 2019

Shelter is the backbone on which Pillars exists. This morning during our Conversations over Coffee, we welcomed Pillars’ Shelter Managers, Kathy Dean and Lauren Moen.

Lauren, Pillars Adult Shelter Manager, started things out by describing some of the day-to-day operations at Pillars Adult Shelter. Pillars Adult Shelter serves individuals experiencing homelessness on a nightly basis and provides people with their basic needs including meals, bedding, towels, personal care products, and shower and laundry facilities. Lauren explained that the shelter often operates with a waiting list, so individuals seeking shelter for the night are encouraged to call ahead to make sure they have a spot. In addition to shelter and basic necessities, individuals in shelter receive some case management services, in addition to services provided out of Pillars Resource Center.

Kathy, Pillars Adult & Family Shelter Manager, moved on to discuss the services provided out of Pillars Adult & Family Shelter. Different from Pillars Adult Shelter, Pillars Adult & Family Shelter is open 24/7 and not only serves adults, but families with children, too. Individuals and families receive case management services during their stay. Case management focuses on understanding their needs and connecting them to community resources that they may continue accessing after leaving shelter.

Both shelters are staffed by Shelter Client Advocates. Shelter Client Advocates and Case Managers at Pillars shelters receive training to be able to provide services appropriately and effectively. Some of the training they receive includes safety, de-escalation, emergency response, and building operations. Shelter staff also receives training in motivational interviewing and trauma-informed care – both approaches that are focused on the individual, their experiences, and asking the right questions to empower them to come to their own conclusions.

The number of individuals experiencing homelessness in the Fox Valley remains steady. With the continued need for services, both Lauren and Kathy emphasized the importance of building relationships in the community that help Pillars best serve people’s needs. They also both sung the praises of the relationship that exists between Pillars and the volunteers who generously give of their time to support Pillars’ work.

Shelter Program statistics shared:

  • Pillars Adult Shelter served 460 individuals in 2019
  • 21,908 bed nights provided by Pillars Adult Shelter
  • 688 individuals, including 157 children were served at Pillars Adult & Family Shelter
  • 27,705 bed nights provided by Pillars Adult & Family Shelter