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Helping neighbors stay warm: a look at resources available this winter

Posted at 5:47 PM, Jan 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-10 18:47:10-05
  • As temperatures drop, Pillars, which is an adult and family shelter, faces high demand, leaving hundreds on a waitlist.
  • Pillars and the city work to ensure no neighbors are left cold, exploring alternative support measures beyond the shelter's full 135 beds.
  • Click here for a list of ways you can support Pillars.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Standing outside right now, I'm cold in my best winter gear. There are hundreds of people in the fox valley that need a warm place to stay and with the temperature dropping even more the next few days, that need is even greater. I’m Olivia Acree, your Appleton neighborhood reporter learning more about the resources available in our neighborhood.

Pretty soon we’re going to see our daily high temp going from two digits to one, while the wait list at pillars stays in the hundreds.

“Having to turn somebody away is really challenging, especially in these cold weather climates," said Malm.

Matt Malm is the community engagement director with Pillars. He’s working to make sure none of our neighbors are cold.

“Anything we can do to make that a little more comfortable for those individuals and keep them safe," said Malm.

Safe during times like this when the wait list is long, and all 135 shelter beds are taken. They have to turn to supportive measures.

The city of Appleton coordinated entry specialist, Liz Croley, says 350 households are facing housing insecurity.

“Our challenge is pillars is our only emergency shelter and they are at capacity," said Croley.

So, they have to get creative with ways to help in the meantime.

“Maybe the shelter is not something we can provide. But if there's ways to get a voucher for a new set of clothes, warmer clothes, washing your clothes," said Croley.

If you want to help your neighbors stay warm, Croley has some ideas.

“It doesn't always necessarily mean giving money. It could be donating a meal to the adult shelter or just volunteering time to go and be at any of these centers and just find the human again in this situation," said Croley.

If you or someone you know needs a warm place to stay this winter, Pillars has resources available.